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Dealing with sadness: how can you help someone in a difficult, sad period
What is grief
Dealing with sadness. Grief is a primary human emotion for expressing that you are not happy. Grief is often caused by loss. Loss of a partner due to death or because a (love) relationship is broken. Sadness because you have “lost” or been torn off what you were attached to. That could be your health, your job/income, or something tangible. You may even be sad because a “dream” has exploded. In most cases, sadness has to do with loss. It is a kind of detachment pain. Your happiness was depended on what you lost. You have made yourself dependent.
Do you remember your first stuffed animal?
Most of us still remember. The intense sadness of losing your first stuffed animal. Maybe a cloth, a doll, or a toy (a car for some grown men!). Appreciation, affection, attachment, dependence… an increasing bonding/interweaving that is anchored deep in your mind, throughout your system. Sometimes it has even become part of yourself. If you lose it, it is as if a rib is torn from your body. Eckhart Tolle calls this identification. You identify with it. Grief is there when that “part” is taken away from you. The stronger the identification (dependence), the greater the grief.
Don’t suppress, don’t indulge
Things come and go. People come and go. The world is continually changing. Life and death, it’s all part of it. Similarly, so is sadness. Grief is good, nothing wrong with it. Grief is a signal that there is a transition to a new situation. Energy wants to keep moving, life energy wants to flow. With full-flowing life energy, you are happy. So keep feeling, don’t put your grief away. Process your grief and then let it go again. And at the same time: don’t go over the top! Don’t drown in your grief. There is more to life than your grief. Life goes on, everything passes, and don’t stay in your grief too long.
How can you help someone with grief?
The best way to help someone who is sad is to be lovingly present. By really “being” there, by being available, by being attentive, showing real interest in the other. You can really help someone with that. Taking care of the other without sacrificing yourself. How wonderful is giving…, love is giving. Your time, your attention, just being present is often enough. Being there for the other in any form. And take initiative: call, email, drop by. Don’t impose yourself, keep it demand free, but a little persistence is fine.
How wonderful it is if you’re allowed to be there, just the way you are. Yeah right, so now you’re sad. You can help someone tremendously by refraining your advice and solutions. Just walk along on his / her path. Listening attentively to what is being said. Show understanding and empower someone in his / her feelings. Yes, it’s there, and that’s okay. Hold someone when needed and it feels good. And again: do not try to fix anything, don’t offer unsolicited solutions. Holding space also teaches you to be patient. Just wait for what’s to come. Processing grief takes time, sometimes more than we have …
Helping someone with their grief does not mean that you should never “do” anything. Sometimes providing structure is very appropriate. No hassle, all practical things being arranged. No clutter about side issues. In this way, someone can be completely focused on the present grief. In this way, grief gets the attention it needs (deserves).
It may also be that distraction – just having a break – is needed. Grief can be so intense that it can consume a person. In those situations, you, as a supervisor, are the instrument of the universe to steer things in the right direction. Just a distraction … Take someone out of the pain. And of course sometimes also can offer concrete help. See and do what needs to be done. Active (financial) support, for example. Just also ask: what can I do for you?
Grief paves the way for a new situation. There is much to support in a bridging period. Letting go isn’t easy. An intermediate phase is appropriate for major changes. Sometimes it can help if “the lost is replaced by a substitute”. Just think of your stuffed animal… A new (boy/girl) friend sometimes works miracles.
Dealing with sadness
People with intense grief are not their “normal” selves and can sometimes do strange things. You can help someone with grief by creating safe bedding or ensuring that it stays safe. Important decisions during a mourning period are often not wise.
Safe bedding also includes monitoring boundaries. If someone is hurting him- / herself out of grief, it is important to intervene. There are limits. Out of grief, someone can take care of himself badly: physical neglect, drinking, drugs … Grief can also lead to despair and depression. Vigilance is then required.
Time heals all wounds
You can help someone to deal with their grief, but in the end, they have to process it themselves. That will certainly work out fine in a safe environment with loving people around. Sometimes the sadness freezes and gets “stuck” in the body. That is also fine, time heals all wounds. What has not been processed and released now, will be done sooner or later. Life is more intelligent than anyone can comprehend.
Focusing on better times
The pendulum always swings back again, so happiness is within reach. Knowing that you can also help the universe a little bit. When the time is ready active steps can be taken. You can invite someone to see that and focus on it. See him/her see the possibilities again, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A good example does a good job, so stay positive and advocate moves in the “right” direction. Be patient, give grief the place it deserves, and help to move forward at the right time. After a great loss comes the time when someone can stand on their own two feet again.
Happiness happens when you fit with your life
Knowing what suits you is important to be happy. We are all people with our individuality, wishes, and things that we value. That stuffed animal is replaceable, so is that car. Filling the gap of your lost partner is a bit more difficult, but there will be someone out there for you. “Happiness” is the result of being well centered, of living from your heart. In your heart, you will find out what is really important to you. There you will find your truth, there you will find your heart desires.
Heart meditation is an excellent medicine against (old) grief, against heartache. It is not your heart that has been injured, it is the hard layers around it that hurt, that cause grief. Love heals. Love for yourself, that’s where it starts with. When you can see that, you are on the way to a better, happier future. Love can transform your (old) pain and sorrow into vibrant life energy. Loosen what is stuck, relax, and become more energetic. Grow in love even. Become so loving again that you overflow (again) and can also warm others. That’s how life is meant to be!
Dealing with sadness
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