What does grief look like, and who is "grieving"? For the past several years, I've been delivering set and customized personal development programs that interweave my experience and background as an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist to groups and individuals.
What I have come to learn is that there are as many "faces" of grief as there are definitions. Today I encountered another "face" as I pulled into my driveway and noticed a man knocking on my front door. I came to a stop, rolled down my window, and asked him, "Can I help you?" He stated, "Sir, I'm dehydrated, and I'm wondering if I can have some water."
I gave him water and struck up a conversation with him. "Brother, what's your story?" I learned that he's a Navy vet who is suffering from PTSD. I asked him, "What do you have PTSD from?" He shared that he was hazed and experienced "pink belly" -- the term used to describe the color of one's belly after being beaten.
We continued talking, and at one point, he shared, "Sir, I don't always feel very good in my head." I share with him, "Brother, my experience is that everyone has days, in some cases many days, where we don't always feel 100%. I know that sometimes I don't, and I work my thoughts to shift to feeling just a little better than I'm currently feeling."
He was staring at me. His eyes welled up with tears. He then said, "I really needed to hear that, sir. Can I hug you?" I said, "Of course brother." And we hugged. Our conversation ended shortly after, and he walked away a different man, and so did I.
What I gathered in our encounter was the following:
💡 He has unresolved grief that is a significant contributor to his PTSD. 💡 He feels isolated and alone. 💡 He needed to talk with someone. 💡 He looked like any other person that I would pass on the street, supermarket aisle, grabbing a cup of coffee, or a run around the park. 💡 He was looking for a connection: ✅I see you. ✅I hear you. ✅I value you.
❓How do you know if you have unresolved grief?
❓Do you or have you ever approached a painful event, trauma, or loss with any of the following?
🚨 I'm fine, and I'm just going to be strong. 🚨 I'm fine, and time will heal me. 🚨I'm fine, and I'm just going keep busy. 🚨 I'm fine, and I'll just replace my loss. 🚨I'm fine, and I just need to be alone for a little while. 🚨 I'm fine, and I'm just not going to feel bad about it.
❓Have you diminished any painful event, trauma, or loss as a result of comparison?
🚫The mental cycle of measuring your loss against a self-imposed "Loss Hierarchy" can/may have been preventing you from resolving your grief/loss.
🚫Yes, I encountered this loss; however, it's not "as bad" as what that person has suffered. So, I shouldn't be complaining.
🚫I'm an "insert identity or character attribute," and I don't feel "enter emotional expression being repressed, rejected, or renounced."
Here are some things to consider about grief:
💡 All grief is experienced at 100%.
💡Your grief is deserving of being resolved so that you live and experience emotional completeness.
😲Unresolved grief is cumulative and negatively cumulative.
😲 Unresolved grief may be at the root of any fear associated with thoughts or feelings about a relationship.
😲 Unresolved grief may doom the future as individuals alter their life choices to "protect" themselves and from fully engaging their vision/goals.
🎉We've just entered 2020. Many have crafted visions, vision boards, updated priorities with supporting goals.
🤔 Consider the last point, "Unresolved grief may doom the future as individuals alter their life choices to "protect" themselves." and do a self-check to determine if there's some emotional completion attention required.
💪🏼 My experience is that visions, vision boards, priorities, and goals are achieved with a higher degree of success when engaged with as healthy emotional completeness that one is continuously nurturing.
💌 There is no grief, loss, trauma, or "significant shift in pattern" that is undeserving of being resolved — resolved to emotional completeness.
💌 Everyone is deserving and worthy of it!