How (Not) To Grieve

Unfortunately, grief is a part of life. We tend to think of death when we hear the word (or, I do, at least), but we grieve other things throughout our lives, as well. Whether it’s a friend moving away, the loss of a job or a break-up with a significant other, grief is pretty much intertwined into every aspect of life. Understanding how to grieve, and how not to, is an important step to being happy.


There are plenty of articles that tell you how you should grieve, but not a lot that tell you how you shouldn’t. So, y’know, let’s talk about it. Here’s what you shouldn’t do if you’re grieving:

Ignore It

It’s taken over seven years and a lot of soul-searching, but I am an now advocate of really feeling emotions. If you’re happy, be happy. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry, be angry. It’s when we try to hide or ignore our emotions that they ruin our lives. I like to think of it as what happens if your boat has a small hole in it, but you ignore it and stay on the water anyway. Our emotions are the water and life is the boat; eventually the water is going to fill the boat and sink it. Unresolved emotions – especially grief – will ruin you.


Everyone grieves differently. Some people need to talk about it whereas others prefer to deal with it silently. Some people let it wash over them and other people tuck it away to avoid it. And some people, like myself at one time, can’t handle it and self-medicate to make it go away. Or, at least, we think it’s going away.

What’s actually happening is that we add even more problems and bullshit onto it, making it so much worse. The thing about grief is that it’s going to come out at some point no matter what you do. When you self-medicate you run the risk of becoming addicted to the substance used to self-medicate, creating a scenario where you’re not only grieving, but now you’re dealing with addiction on top of it.

Be Afraid To Talk About It

Some people, especially men due to the way we raise them, are not comfortable talking about their emotions or problems, but sometimes talking about what we’re feeling is the best way to deal with the emotion. Now, there are those who are able to keep it inside without issues. My husband, who was grieving the same person I was, never discussed it but this didn’t have an adverse effect on him. He handled it so much better than I did without any lasting repercussions.

However, that’s because he knew he could if he wanted to, but just didn’t. If you are grieving and you feel like talking about it, find someone to talk to. Whether it’s a friend, family member or whoever – find someone and get it off your chest. You will feel better and will be one step closer to getting past what you’re grieving.

Be Afraid/Embarrassed To Get Help

If you have done everything in your power to deal with your grief and you find yourself getting nowhere, do not be afraid to get professional help. If you have the means to do so, use them. Don’t let what other people might think stop you from doing what’s best for you; screw anyone who thinks less of you because you need to see a professional. If someone makes you feel bad, just know that they aren’t looking out for you.

I know that there is a ridiculous stigma around getting help for mental issues, but ignore it. Think of it like a diabetic going to get their insulin or a person with migraines going to their neurologist. It’s a health problem just like anything else and there’s help for it, so use it.

Final Thoughts

Grief sucks. I mean, there’s just no way around it. It’s terrible. But, you have options when dealing with grief and some are good while others are bad. Don’t make the same mistakes I did (those up there, if you couldn’t tell) and take care of yourself. Keep in mind that throughout your life you’re going to be given reasons to grieve.

Don’t find yourself in a boat with a hole in it.

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