Difficult emotions, midlife unraveling, and oscillating grief

We love to share with you the articles and other grief resources we find useful or inspirational. Here’s what we’ve enjoyed recently…

The courage to face difficult emotions

We always love to find more folks taking a stand against “positivity culture.” Positivity culture is the set of ideas that says that there are negative and positive emotions, and that you should avoid or overcome all so-called negative emotions. There are various brands that suggest different consequences of not banishing the negative, but in general, they’re saying that Negative emotions lead to failure and positive emotions lead to success. We all want to enjoy life and feel good, so we do of course teach our Creative Grief Support Practitioners ways to help their clients to appreciate and nurture the so-called “positive” feelings. But we stand against the positivity culture’s shoulding and shaming of the many difficult, and entirely normal, emotions that grieving people struggle with.

https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_david_the_gift_and_power_of_emotional_courage

Midlife crisis or unraveling

We really enjoyed reading Dr Brene Brown’s articulation of her experience of “midlife crisis,” or “midlife unraveling,” as she prefers to call it. We thought it sounded incredibly resonant with many people’s experiences of grief. Perhaps that is because of the common “existential crisis” process of reviewing and deconstructing one’s meanings? And certainly, midlife crises are often triggered by a great loss, and in turn, often lead to further loss and grief as one “unravels” and leaves behind identities and roles that no longer fit. Have a read and let us know what you think…

https://brenebrown.com/blog/2018/05/24/the-midlife-unraveling/

Stay strong or fall apart?

There is a dominant idea in the world of grief support – one that receives much support from grief support professionals – and that is the idea that grieving involves the “work” of expressing your feelings. When a person is not seen to be expressing their feelings through talk and/ or crying, friends, family, and professionals alike often become concerned that this person is “in denial” and needs help, lest their “suppressed” grief build up and unleash the apocalypse on them. We’ve even had someone contact in great fear that their friend might imminently catch a cancer, because they’d heard that suppressed grief leads to cancer! In our Certification course, we teach that the research shows that grieving is an oscillating process of “falling apart” and “coming together again,” in which a wide range of emotions is normal. Also, there are many different ways that one might make meaning still, without speaking or crying about their loss. The important part is for us as grief support professionals to be supporting our clients to find their own way after loss. So we loved this more nuanced account of a woman’s “oscillating” grief journey…

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/may/27/how-do-you-deal-with-grief-fall-apart-under-its-weight-or-stay-strong