This week, I’ve been back at the World Domination Summit in Oregon. I spoke on the main stage there last year, and many of you joined our community for the first time after hearing that talk.
I was back briefly this year, speaking on a panel of authors about the process of writing and how our words make their way into the world. I’ve had my head down into my own writing this summer, so it was wonderful to be out in the world for awhile. I heard from so many people over the course of the last couple of days about how my talk last year affected them. Not only that, but I heard how they’ve changed how they care for the people in their lives since that talk.
Maybe I’m a little over-tired at the moment, but thinking of all those people who have changed how they show up in the world has got me pretty weepy. This is why I do this work: I want the people who love you to get better at supporting you. I want everyone to get better at showing up, at being love at their point in the universe.
And it’s happening. Things are changing, even if on a slow, small, individual scale. More needs to happen, for sure, but change is happening. When we tell the truth about grief, and about what we need, things change. Things CAN change.
With so many grieving people biting their tongues, smiling and nodding when well-meaning people say horrible things, it’s important that we start telling the truth. The way we treat grieving people in this culture is horrendous – and it’s heart-breaking. At a time when we need the most love and care, we feel the most…. invisible. Dismissed. Unheard.
It’s not being “negative” when you voice what’s real for you inside your pain. If we don’t tell the truth about what helps and what doesn’t, how can anyone improve? If what we want is to support the people we love, we need to be willing to hear that kind of truth.
Of course, there are ways to say “that doesn’t help” that are gentle and clear, and ways to say that that are, shall we say, less skilled. But too many people simply suffer more in their pain because those close to them don’t know how to truly show up and hold space for that which cannot be fixed.
Whether or not that has been largely true for you, I’m so glad you’re here. While you never would have chosen to be part of it, you’re part of the the change happening in the world. The more you speak the truth about your pain, the better we all get at hearing it, without jumping in to fix.
If you haven’t had enough of the kind of support that really helps, I invite you to join the next Writing Your Grief course, which begins in September. It’s a whole community of people like you: those who know pain can only be companioned, never fixed.
How do you find ways to speak up about the truth of your experience? If you can’t say it to some of the people in your life, have you found that freedom elsewhere? Let us know in the comments.