An advice column for folks who don’t like to be told what to do
I woke up this morning in the firm grip of grief, and as is so often the way with me, I happened upon an article that spoke directly to my condition. This NPR piece, The Importance of Mourning Losses (Even When They Seem Small), offers wisdom on the necessity of making space for grief, and the courage required. In the interview, which I encourage you to listen to in its entirety, therapist David Dafoe talks about how we normalize healthy grieving:
It takes a little bit of courage, a little bit of authenticity. One of the reasons we in the West don’t do so well with grief is that we have this culture of strength. But it’s this misguided culture of strength where we think that to be strong means we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, that we fall down and we get back up. But we don’t recognize that in falling down that there are some things that are important while we’re down. We need to work through and talk about [them] and we can’t just put aside our emotions and act like they don’t exist. We have to reorient ourselves to that.
Strength is actually found in authenticity, in being open and honest with yourself. Being able to tell people, “Listen, I’m in pain. I’m not okay. This is how I need you to help me.” Because that’s really the problem. We don’t do well with our own pain, so we don’t want to see it in others.
So, my loves, listen. I’m in pain. I’m not okay. I will be okay, and I will be able to offer myself to sit with other people’s pain and questions again. Soon, maybe. But that day is not today. Today I need to sit with myself — my pain, my questions.
As hard as it is, it is what allows me to actually show up in the world, and most especially for the people that I love.
I wish you the strength to sit with your pain this week — to name it and ask for whatever help you need.
Thank you for walking this journey with me. Love to you and yours.
Do you have a question about relationships, sex, parenting, politics, spirituality, community? Send them to me at email@example.com with the subject line “Walk With Me”. Let’s walk each other home.
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