On Grieving the Living

Have you ever been disappointed by someone? Hurt by the fact that they stopped giving you the attention that you craved? Torn apart by the mean things they said to you when you feel like all you have given them is love? If you’re human (which you are if you’re reading this) the answer is most likely yes. And given that you’re human, it is just as likely that someone has been disappointed and hurt by you. (Shit.) Being hurt emotionally sucks, maybe more than being hurt physically. Thoughts like “did I do something wrong?”, “how did we lose our connection?” and “I deserve better” can truly make you feel like you are losing your mind. The bad news is that people (including you and I) suck sometimes and will inevitably hurt other people. The good news is that, thanks to our ability to grieve, this pain doesn’t have to drive us insane (in the membrane).

Grieving is of course most commonly associated with the death of a loved one. When someone we love dies we have to accept that they are no longer there. We have to grieve the loss in order to be able to move on with our lives. We have to find a way to be okay without them. Similarly, we can grieve the loss of a person who is still alive but not there for us the way we want or need them. That can be manifested in a breakup, a good friend going A.W.O.L., a parent not loving us the way we want to be loved, someone who was really into you deciding that they’re just not that into you anymore, or that instant inexplicable connection that ceases to exist just as instantly and without explanation, et cetera, et cetera. It’s almost impossible to not take those situations personally, to not let the associated pain affect our self-worth. At the end of the day we are all just breakable boys and girls who want to be loved and treated the way we love and treat people.

One way to avoid being broken (and going crazy) is to accept the fact that people are limited and that, more often than not, the way they treat you has nothing to do with you but everything to do with their limitations. They simply cannot give more or love better. They say mean things, they fall out of love with you, they lose interest. It has nothing to do with how much you give; how well you love; how gentle, madly in love, or invested in their lives you are. By accepting their limitations and grieving the fact that they are either gone or different than you want them to be, or that they can’t fulfill your needs, you give yourself permission to move on with your life. It doesn’t mean having to give up on them or forget them or stop loving them. It means that you can appreciate their good qualities, the good memories you share and the lessons they taught you. That type of grief is a difficult and painful process, not unlike grieving the death of a loved one, but it’s either moving through the pain or losing our minds. Your choice but I’m done losing my mind.

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