Grief Is A Healing Process

Continuing with the themes of “the way out is through” and “the fear to look within”…

I have found that grief is the emotion that is most often resisted and repressed. It is also often unidentified.

All loss entails feelings of grief, to varying degrees. Sometimes we go through it quickly. You miss a phone call and you experience denial (“I can’t believe I missed that.”), anger/depression (“Oh, I really wanted to speak with them.”), and, finally, understanding/acceptance (“Oh, well, they’ll call back.”). In other situations these stages take longer to process. Sometimes, in the case of a major loss, it can take years to fully reach understanding and acceptance.

Grief is painful, sometimes excruciating, but it is not really a negative emotion. It is the process our minds use to heal. The way out of grief is to go through the process. We repress grief because it is so painful and/or because we don’t want to acknowledge the loss. But when we don’t go through the process we don’t heal. And unprocessed grief is an obstacle to peace.

Sometimes clients tell me of resentments they cannot seem to release. They know the story they tell themselves. They know why they are angry. But they can’t seem to get past it. I ask them, “But have you grieved that So-and-so isn’t the person you wanted them to be for you?” Sometimes we have to grieve lost expectations or dreams. Sometimes we have to grieve that someone is never going to be for us who we want them to be for us or who we thought they should have been for us. Grieving can sometimes be the last thing left to do before you are free of your resentment.

Often clients tell me they feel they will be overwhelmed by their grief. That is because it looms large when it is unexpressed. It feels like a tidal wave when it is repressed, but it is really just an ordinary wave of emotion. Grief is a process that, once you go through it, you realize you can and will survive any loss that comes your way. It is painful. It is difficult. But if you are willing, you will go through the process and come out on the other side wiser and stronger.

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If you have unresolved resentments or losses I can help you process them. Email me at Liz@acimmentor.com to set up an appointment. Learn more at www.acimmentor.com.

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Comments

Christine said…
What I think of as I read this is grieving the "loss of your personal self", as one goes further into the study/becoming more and more aware of the Real Self/Oneness. But learning we are individual expressions of God/ Spirit/Oneness is comforting, once you get through the former!
ACIM Mentor said…
Christine, grieving the "loss of the personal self" is an ego bugaboo. When it's really time to drop the self it is natural and you feel no grief.
hannah said…
thank you xx
hannah said…
i have spent some time lately identifying tantrum triggers, and have been surprised to discover that it is often the small things, the missed phone calls of life, that push the big emotional tidal wave buttons! (ok, not surprised, i already saw it, but ive only just been having the guts to REALLY look at it cos its so bonkers!) Like.. um.. considering i have worked hard at accepting and letting be the fact that i cannot have exactly what i want, the universe owes me those little things!! this is seriously peace disturbing!

hmm, i wonder if this is still just an expression of unexpressed grief.. i mean.. like, if id truly grieved the 'imperfect world' would i believe i deserved small compensations 'exactly so'!!?
Anonymous said…
I wish the only grief and loss I had was a missed phone call.
Christine said…
Oh yes, thanks, Liz...that's why I put it in parenthesis! (an ego reaction!)
hannah said…
anonymous.. laughing out loud.. yes, it is rather a tantrum!

so.. looking at it with a bit of perspective.. because it really doesnt make sense. its like.. seeking payment for losses incurred, i guess.. seeking safety from emptiness. so, it (making/experiencing little disturbances as large) MUST be cover, a distraction, from the deep pain. oh.. there ARE no little or big disturbances. hmmm. no hierarchy of illusions. the flip side of no order of difficulty in miracles. hang on then.. that would be saying that there is only one pain, HIDDEN by an illusion of 'amounts and degrees'. well, heck.. guilt seeks punishment, 'payment'. so if i think the world 'owes me'.. OR that 'i owe the world' im saying 'guilt is real.. Truth/God is guilty'. 'god owes me' or 'i owe god'.

ah, joy! i woke a while ago Seeing how i walked the world problem solving, and what i was doing was purposive! dividing the world up into piles of good and bad; piles of more or less deserving of.. whatever. (punishment, help, love, rejection, judgement, time, attention, fixing, healing.. whatever!). and this is PURPOSIVE!! i have not been problem solving to heal, as i thought, the real purposive was to divide.. ie. to keep guilt thriving!!

in that light, the only grief and loss we experience COULD be described as a missed phone call!! a belief that Communication was lost!!
Deb Baczewski said…
A heart of gratitude. The support and validation is immense. A potent article this is. The experiencing of this process of late had this mind a bit confused, recalling the inquiry, "I thought I had healed that". I don't believe I initially identified it as grief.

Grief described as an emotion. Yes, of course, the anger and sadness. The repressed resentments flying around like "bats in the belfry".

I guess when one is willing and ready and asks, "show me what I need to look at" it will rise up and mighty companions will be given to support.

Now, blessed acceptance.

So thank you, bless you, I love you. Deb
Christine said…
I've re-read this article...my question is : Is forgiveness included in the healing process of grief? And I mean the Course's definition of forgiveness.
ACIM Mentor said…
Christine, not directly. However, choosing True forgiveness (the willingness to see that nothing real has occurred) may lead to the self completing the process.
Frank C said…
the thing about this that keeps popping into my mind is the similarity in these two words: grief >> grievance... are they linked? does unresolved (unforgiven) grief lead to grievances?
ACIM Mentor said…
Good question, Frank. Grieve and grievance both have the same root, Latin for "to burden". And, certainly, unresolved grief can lead to a grievance. "You are not who I want you to be for me..." is a grievance caused by grief.

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