Emotions are a normal and natural response to the things that happen to us in life. We feel happy when something good happens, we feel frightened when we are threatened, we feel anger when we are crossed and sometimes we feel grief.
Grief is associated with loss, often the loss of something or someone. You can even feel grief for something that you never had. Did you ever want a particular job? Perhaps you interviewed for it but for whatever reason, you did not get it. That feeling is grief, perhaps only mild but it is still there.
Trying to avoid grief
Our tendency is to try and side-step grief. When we are crying in sorrow, people will tell us ‘don’t cry’. They are attempting to comfort us, but their statement is complex. They want us to avoid grief but they want to escape it themselves.
But grief has a function and we need it. The purpose of the anguish is to move us through a process and so to help us recover.
Pain is step one to getting over it
When something bad or something sad happens, we can be knocked sideways by it. It can be so personally devastating for a while we are unable to function in our normal way.
On own psyche makes us stop and possibly withdraw for a while as we rebuild our resources and restructure our internal worldview. As our brain processes the change, we make a series of adjustments. This is how we adapt.
We do the same thing when something we perceive as positive happens, but the process is quick and unnoticed as we readily assimilate happy change into our lives.
When we feel misery what our brain is doing is preparing us to function again, we are changed but we do come through it.
Private grief vs. public grief
Public grief is a collective response to an event which doesn’t impact us personally, meaning it is not our loss literally, but yet in some way a grief response it triggered.
The public grief which followed the death of the Princess of Wales was an unprecedented show of public grief. But it was also a confused response. In the past when it was more common not to show grief in public, such a display would have been unthinkable. It is no wonder that the psychologists are still trying to explain what happened.
We don’t think about coming back to normal from an extraordinarily happy event. But it happens. After the honeymoon, you have to go back to work. Grief takes a little more effort; we have no option but to feel our feelings and to come to the end of the process. We may go through consciously or unconsciously but normally we will get through it.
It is when we get stuck in grief that we might consider seeking outside help. Talking to a therapist will help us move through the stages of grief and gain an understanding of why we feel like we do.