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How to stay in grief forever

Recently I received a facebook invite to a grief related page. I think it was an event, or a movie viewing…or something. I didn’t actually pay much attention, because as soon as I opened the page the very first sentence had me clicking immediately out and never going back.

“Grief is the form love takes when somebody dies.”

I saw this and knew I was entirely in the wrong place. Like your vegan friend stepping into a carnivore restaurant. Or vice versa. Nope, this isn’t where I’m meant to be.

Grief is the form love takes when somebody dies. This is, unfortunately, a very common belief. It’s also completely wrong. And it will keep you in grief forever. Though, if you believe this line, that may well be exactly what you want.

A big chunk of the process that I take my clients through is identifying beliefs like this one that they hold. And then shifting them. Because if you believe your grief is what your love for them has turned into then, naturally, you won’t want to be without it. You won’t want to be without a single shred of it. You’ll cling to it and when you get to the end of your life you’ll find, unsurprisingly, that you still have the same grief. And you’ll use this as further evidence that this is the only way.

The thing is that this belief doesn’t stand up well when you hold it up to the light.

Grief, at its simplest, is your emotional experience of a death in your life. An incredibly powerful and often all-encompassing emotional experience – yes, but your emotional experience nonetheless. This isn’t love. Your love for them is your love for them is your love for them. Your anger at someone you love isn’t your love for them. Your sadness when someone you love upsets you isn’t your love for them. And your grief after they die is also not your love for them.

Your love for them is that beautiful (and not painful) connection to them that lies under all the emotion – good or bad.

The worst part of this is that not only is your grief NOT love, but the more grief you have the harder it is to feel that love. It becomes buried. It becomes painful to access. Sometimes too painful. Not because of the love. Because of the grief.

If you want to love them, then love them. It’s a LOT easier to do when it’s not all covered up with pain and whatever else makes up your version of grief.

Grief is most certainly not the form that love takes when somebody dies. Grief is the emotional experience that happens on top of that love, often hiding that very love that you’re trying to hold on to. The way back to that love (or back to feeling that love easily and effortlessly…as it doesn’t go away anywhere) isn’t by holding on to your grief. It’s by moving through and out of your grief so it no longer gets in the way.