Many people find it difficult to express their emotions, especially grief. Mostly, because they are not confident that the other person "will get it". Those who are grieving losses, feel the pressure to be "OK" for others. This is mostly due to the other's persons discomfort with grief.
When someone is experiencing loss and you ask them, "how are you?" and if they respond... "I'm Ok".. They probably are not! Many say "OK" to not be an emotional burden for others. It's strange how the person grieving has to be strong not only for themself, but for others also.
Take the pressure off the grieving person, ask them....
- "What are you needing today?'
- "What's one thing you would like to do today?"
When grieving individuals bottle their grief to prevent awkward conversations; avoiding, suppressing, or ignoring grief can become harmful. It can lead to physical stress on the body (illness), emotional distress, and relationship distress. Relational distress can present as anger, frustration, irritability, and aggressive behaviors. Emotional distress can resemble anxiousness, depression, loneliness, isolation, withdrawal. Physical stress on the body results in illnesses such as digestive issues, headaches, blood pressure issues, just to name a few.
Non-grievers, be willing to keep the conversations about grief open! A few tips:
- Be honest and genuine
- Be brief. it's ok to sit in silence. Allow the grieving person to share more
- Be a listener, not an advice giver, unless asked to do so.