There’s a lot of misconceptions around grief. In this post, we’re going to dispel some myths about grief.
Grief is something that we are little prepared for. Even those who have encountered it before will find that it still affects them greatly. The problem is, there’s a lot of myths surrounding grief that simply aren’t true. Things that have been said over the years or things we may have heard, they’re not reflective of grieving. In this post, we’re going to dispel some of the myths around grief.
We’ve spoken to S. Stibbards & Sons, funeral directors in Southend on Sea, who offer advice on grief and support as part of their service. Asking them about common myths around grief, our blog post is going to look at these common misconceptions and explain why they may not be as they seem.
Myths about Grieving
- Women grieve more
This is the first, and probably most outdated myth around grief. Whilst for centuries it may have been perceived that women are more ‘sensitive’ than men, this is frankly just an outdated misconception. Humans are all affected by grief in different ways, whether they be men or women, and grief comes in many different forms – not just sorrow. The idea that women grieve more is simply not true and is reflective of an archaic time.
- Grief is a time period
Another misconception about grief is that it a period in life. However, this could not be further from true. The thing about grief is that it doesn’t have a set time until you’re over it. Some may take years, and some may find that they’re never over it. Because, grief never just goes away, we just learn to live alongside our grief. The common thing that is believed is that everyone gets through or gets over grief and ‘moves on’. But, it’s different for everyone. It’s not something that disappears over time and there’s not limit on how long it can take to seemingly ‘get over it’.
- Grief is expressed as a single emotion
Whilst many immediately associate grief to sadness, this isn’t the only form grief can take. It’s well known that it’s been theorised about the 5 or 7 stages of grief, and in these processes, there are a whole range of emotions. But, whilst these are theories, there’s so much not understood about grief. All we know, is that it affects us in different ways, and whether we follow the Kübler-Ross model of grieving or not is something that isn’t sure. Because grief can come in many forms and has a whole spectrum of emotions. Those grieving aren’t expected to just be full of sorrow.
- The 5 stages of Grief
Whilst the 5 stages of grief is a popular common theory, making its way into western culture, it’s only that – a theory. Elisabeth Kübler Ross and David Kessler did a vast number of studies and research around grieving, finding that a great number of their participants followed these stages chronologically. However, human emotion isn’t something so easily understood, and whilst it has been theorised, and many people do follow this grieving process, this isn’t the case for all. As we’ve said many times, grief affects people in different ways. Whether you go through this process or not, you’re still grieving. Don’t let anyone tell you that your grief should or will follow this process, because it’s simply not true. Grief is a personal experience, differing between individuals.
- Grieving is easier when death is expected
In the case where someone has lost a loved one who is terminally ill, it’s commonly thought of that grieving will be ‘easier’, because the death is expected. It’s not true. Nothing can prepare us for death, and grieving is something that all humans experience. Your grief will affect you in different ways, and your journey through it will never be easy, even if death is expected. Loss is hard, and no amount of prior preparation can help ease the weight of grief. No matter if the death is expected or not, grief is never easy and will take as long as it needs until you can learn to live with it.
- Therapy and Counselling always helps
Some may find solace in undergoing therapy or counselling, to talk through their grief, but it’s not a one size fits all approach. Whilst many find it beneficial, it’s not for everyone. Some simply want to deal with their grief in their own way, with their own support system or work through it by themselves. There are no promises or guarantees when it comes to grief. And, there isn’t something that will just help. Like we’ve said, grieving is personal and unique, and many need to find what does and doesn’t help them. If you find counselling or therapy isn’t helping, then stop going. It’s not something you need to do in order to feel better.
- Religion helps you cope
Many find comfort in the religion and faith to help them deal with grief, but it’s not for everyone. Whilst it’s easy to believe in a higher power, for some it’s not a belief they can rely on. Those who turn to faith in whilst grieving may already be religious or find comfort in a new faith, but it’s doesn’t work for everyone. It’s the same with therapy and counselling, it works for some, but not all. Like we’ve said, grief is a personal experience, some may find comfort in religion, and some may not.
- After losing a spouse, dating will help you ‘move on’
Losing someone you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with is hard. And, over time, people may suggest you start dating again to help you ‘move on’. However, it’s not something that works for everyone. Because, grief isn’t as simple as that, and the weight of losing someone may not be so easily solved as ‘dating someone new’. Some may never want to date again, and that’s okay. Grief is a personal experience and more importantly, only you know what is best for you. Don’t take other peoples’ advice as gospel. Grieve at your own pace and find what helps.
We hope dispelling these common myths about grief has helped you.
Hugh Sallows is a Content Marketing Executive, at Revive.Digital. He specialises in writing and has an extensive history of both Marketing and blog work behind him.