There are things that you get over in life. For example a cold, your first breakup, or an argument with a good friend. More often than not, these things happen, they cause temporary misery, maybe you learn from it, and then you let bygones be bygones. Many experiences follow a similar pattern and with good reason. There are things we can and should leave in the past for the benefit of everyone, just imagine how much pain and negativity we’d all carry around if we could never forget and move on.
That said, it is a mistake to think that all painful experiences can and should be gotten over. There are times when such a shift simply isn’t possible – people can’t always change the way they think, feel, and behave simply because they want to. It’s common to think that, in these instances, one can go to therapy or take medication and be cured of these problems, but many people who’ve experienced things like serious hardship, trauma, addiction, and psychological disorder will tell you that healing isn’t about putting these experiences in the past, rather it’s about changing their relationship to the related thoughts, memories, behaviors, and emotions that exist in the present.
There are also times when ‘getting over’ something or ‘forgetting’ isn’t even desirable, such as getting over or forgetting about a deceased loved one and their ongoing absence. Still, many people mistakenly think that grief is something that can and should end at some point. Those who understand grief in hindsight may think this is a foolish mistake, but I would argue it’s common and understandable considering how little people know about grief before experiencing it. Especially those who live in societies where people are quick to believe that grief runs a linear and finite course and, as a consequence, encourage grieving people to push forward and let the woes of the past disappear like water under the bridge.
The reality of grief is that it often stays with you until the day you, yourself, die. For those who think of grief as being all negative emotion, I can see where this may seem unmanageable, but rest assured the impact of grief changes over time. As you change your relationship with grief – by changing how you respond to, cope with, and conceptualize grief – you will likely also find hope and healing. If you think about it, grief is one instance where there is a strong benefit to accepting its ongoing presence in your life because doing so creates more room for comfort, positive memories, and an ongoing connection with the person who died.
I understand this progression because I’ve experienced it, but I’m sure it can be difficult to believe if you haven’t. Initially, I thought about writing a post titled something like ‘5 Ways Your Relationship With Grief Changes Overtime’, but then I changed my mind. Grief is unique, relationships are unique and so your relationship with grief and with the person who died will evolve in a complex and nuanced way. So, instead of generalizing and categorizing, I’m going to share how my relationship with grief changed over time. At the end, please share your own insights about how your relationship with grief has or has not changed in the comment’s section.
How has your relationship with grief changed over time? Share in the comment below.
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