In times of tragedy, it’s important to lend a helping hand… but sometimes, lending someone an ear can have an equally powerful impact.
Here’s an excert from today’s article on Bustle magazine. Click the link at the bottom of the post to read the article in its entirety.
“We all deserve to be heard in our grief, no matter what that grief maybe,” Megan Devine, Therapist and Grief Advocate, tells Bustle. “By shifting the focus from grief as a problem to be solved to an experience to be tended, we provide others what we most want for ourselves: understanding, compassion, validation, and a way through the pain.”
One thing you should never do when offering support to someone affected by tragedy? Compare their grief to your own (or someone else’s) in an attempt to make them feel better.
“Every person has experienced loss in their life, but no one else has experienced this grief,” Devine says. “It’s tempting to offer your own experience of grief in order to let the grieving person know you understand. The truth is, you don’t understand. You can’t. Even if your loss is empirically very similar, resist the urge to use your own experience as a point of connection.”
After an incident like the Las Vegas shooting, news reports are coming in almost constantly with new facts, figures and information. If someone is coming to you for support and happens to get something ‘wrong’, resist the urge to fact check every little thing they say.
“Especially in early grief, a person’s timeline and internal data sources are rather confused and wonky,” Devine says. “They may get dates wrong, or remember things differently than they actually happened. You may have a different opinion about their relationships, or what happened when and with whom. Resist the urge to challenge or correct them. Let them own their own experience. It’s not important who’s ‘more’ correct.”
Click here to read the entire article at Bustle magazine. Then come on back to refuge in grief for more on how to care for yourself – and each other – better.