• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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How to help someone who is grieving as a component of healing for personal health (Part 2)

How to help someone who is grieving as a component of healing for personal health (Part 2)

The Don’ts

There are several reminders about behaviors to avoid, as well as helpful hints for supporting your grieving friend. Even with the best of intentions, it is easy to fall into harmful behaviors. Here are some suggestions for what not to do when someone is grieving and how to handle difficult situations.

1. Don’ts say these

“How are you doing?”

“You’ll be okay after a while.”

“I understand how you feel.”

“You shouldn’t feel that way.”

“Stop crying.”

“At least he’s in a better place; his suffering is over.”

“At least she lived a long life, many people die young.”

“She brought this on herself.”

“Aren’t you over him yet, he’s been dead for a while now.”

“There is a reason for everything.”

“She was such a good person; God wanted her to be with Him.”

“Just give it time. Time heals.” (Time does not heal, taking the right steps heals.)

“You’re young; you can still have other children.”

“You’ll do better next time in love.”

“Stay busy. Don’t think about it.”

“You have to be strong for your spouse, children, mother, etc.” (This diminishes their need to take time to heal.)

“Just move on.”

2. Don’t be afraid to talk about the deceased person

Sometimes people have a misconception that talking about the deceased loved one will upset the bereaved. Most grieving people do want to talk about and think about their loved one who has passed, and by doing this, it helps facilitate the healing process. Ask questions about the lost loved one, like what were their hobbies? Ask about the memories that your friend treasures. It may be that you are one of the few people your friend feels free to talk about their loss with. Encourage the conversation and memories about the deceased and just listen.

Read also: How to help someone who is grieving as a component of healing (Part 1)

3. Don’t try to fix them

Grief is not a problem to be fixed. Your grieving friend only needs your loving support and presence. Attempting to do or say something to fix the situation will only leave you and your friend feeling more powerless. Remember that grief can’t be remedied by anything but time, support and compassion. If your friend feels you are trying to fix them or their feelings, they may start to view themselves as a problem, which may reduce their comfort in confiding in you and expressing their feelings openly.

4. Don’t diminish their grief

Acknowledging grief is one of the most basic and powerful ways you can show your support. People may unintentionally diminish a loved one’s grief by saying, “You’ll get over it soon,” and “You’ll be fine.” The best way to honor someone’s true feelings and grief experiences is to ask how they feel and simply listen. Trying to decrease someone’s pain by minimising it only makes them feel disconnected.

5. Don’t draw comparisons to your experience unless appropriate

To identify with their pain and offer support, you might be tempted to make comparisons about your losses in life. However, doing so is unnecessary and can often lead to frustration and anger for the person experiencing grief.

While it may be true that you have also experienced loss, use discretion when interjecting your experience. Only share and draw comparisons if the loss is very similar to that of your friend. Drawing inappropriate comparisons about grief can result in your friend feeling minimised.

6. Don’t comment on their appearance

It may seem fairly benign to make a statement about a grieving person’s appearance, but these comments can be damaging. Refrain from telling your grieving friend that they look tired, depressed or sad. Even comments that are meant as complimentary may make your friend feel as though they are being judged. Commenting on physical appearance is a common practice, but during your friend’s grief, even the most well-intentioned remark can feel harmful. Passing comments about a bereaved person looking drained only reinforces what they are feeling inside. Instead, offer your support and ask how you can help.

7. Don’t push your faith on them

When a friend or loved one is grieving, it can feel compelling to share your religious or spiritual beliefs with them as a means of helping them feel better. Even though you want your friend to feel peace and comfort, resist the urge to talk about your faith with them. If your friend asks questions about your beliefs, share openly, but without pressing the matter.

8. Avoid platitudes

Platitudes should be at the top of the list of things to avoid saying to someone grieving. Phrases such as, “They’re better off now,” and, “She wouldn’t want you to be sad,” should be banned from all conversations with the bereaved. These common statements are surely meant with good intentions, but only placate and minimize the feelings of the person who is grieving.

Also, avoid impulsively asking generic questions like “how are you?” or other obvious questions.

The best thing you can offer someone who is grieving is a hug, a listening ear and a compassionate presence. No combination of words will make your friend’s pain go away. Don’t worry about saying the right thing because honestly, there is no right thing to say. Grief can be all-consuming. Just being present and offering love and kindness is all that matters.

9. Grief can feel isolating and overwhelming.
When someone you know suffers the loss of a loved one, they require your love and support more than ever. There are many simple ways to show compassion during a grieving friend’s time of need if you’re wondering how to help a grieving friend.