Progress and healing involves seeing every person as not so different from ourselves.
— Bryant H. McGill
I’ve come across my fair share of “insensitive” folk in my life when I have been dealing with death or the loss of a relationship. Here are my top tips and reasons for them, to assist others who are struggling with life’s inevitable losses and challenges.
Don’t tell someone who has lost anyone to “cheer up”.
Don’t tell anyone at any time when dealing with a death or in fact anything in their life that has created upset, at any time, that they are just going to have to get over it, or that they are just feeling sorry for themselves.
- Dealing with loss is a process & the closer the person was to another the deeper the grief & adjustment to life without that other person there is, whether that be by physical death or separation.
- People are not unintelligent enough to not know that they will get through anything they are dealing with, as there is no getting over anything, there is only getting through.
- The later of the two is likely to create a reaction that makes the receiver of that statement, want to give the teller a right hook.
To assist anyone to get through anything you only need two things:
- Your ears to listen and
- Your arms to hug if you know the receiver is open to a hug.
Ask yourself before you open your mouth “How would I feel in this situation?”, whatever that situation is.
Often just listening is the medicine required to assist another to get through anything because as they speak they are releasing whatever is churning within them.
Also in many cases, they are clearing their own heads & in the process coming to their own solutions about what they need to do for themselves.
To jump in with “advice” when advice was not actually asked for only serves to disempower the other person & more than likely will do more damage to them as well as create more upset.
Remember you are not in anyone’s life to play Mr or Mrs Fix It.
Asking timely pondered questions is often the most helpful thing you can do, as they lead another to their own realizations. If they cry good, hand them a tissue, make them a cuppa don’t ask “What’s wrong?” For nothing is wrong they are releasing their pain.
If you are not comfortable bearing witness to another’s grief or whatever process about anything they are dealing with that is your issue, not theirs.
It is kinder to remove yourself and perhaps suggest they speak with a Counsellor than it is to open your mouth and spout unthought about comments.