Welcome back to our series of posts drawing from conversations taking place on the Grief Revolution Patreon.
This week’s question addresses how to deal with outside judgement and the pervasive notion that grief must result in personal growth.
Such great exchanges are taking place in that growing community of grieving and supportive hearts that we want to enable the wider community to benefit as well. So, with the consent of our awesome patrons, we’re diving into our archive of monthly live Q&A sessions to share a question, its answer, and any subsequent discussion.
Michelle L.: I found many grief parallels in that Kate Raworth TED Talk you referenced in a recent Instagram post. (BTW … thanks for sharing it) That forward and upward = growth thinking — without respect for finite resources — is pervasive today in so many life aspects. Even the best of my support network (aside from RIG community, of course) seems “inflicted” with this mindset.
Just this last week I was in a conversation where I was encouraged to “move beyond” only grief-related connections and activities.
This encouragement came despite me pointing out that I’d recently added a new job to my connections and activities. The job was acknowledged, but apparently there’s a need to add more to my circle — i.e. join a gym, a church, or volunteer group. So I come to this question:
How do you continue to message that “growth” isn’t necessarily defined as forward or upward?
That circular is OK — and that circle may (or may not) expand at a point in time — but the timing and scope of “growth” is at sole discretion of griever? (I really even hesitate to call it growth here.)
Megan: Oh hooray! I’m glad you checked out her talk. SO many parallels. Here’s what I’d say to those who are telling you you need to add more to your life – rather than continue to point out that you’re doing fine with what you’ve got, thanks, or trying to educate them – you might step outside of that attack/defend dynamic and instead ask a process question:
“It sounds like you feel I’m too focused on grief. Is that correct?” (they say yes, most likely). “I see. I am living with my son’s death in ways that feel nurturing and supportive to me. Should you experience loss of any kind, I trust that you’d make choices that feel right to you.”
This is the grown up way of saying – stop being a judgmental jerk.
It reminds me of that article I have on HuffPo – how to respond to judgement on your grieving process.
The thing is, people like this don’t WANT to be educated, they want to be CORRECT. There’s pretty much no use in responding with education. It’s going to be better on you if you respond with BOUNDARIES.
If you do choose to get into a discussion about the pervasive nature of the growth mindset, I might start there without it stemming from a discussion of grief, and then find ways to draw parallels when the person is already interested in the discussion.
Michelle L.: Ah yes! Good point on trying to step outside the attack/defend dynamic. I need to start practicing now that I’m making more of an effort to engage people. And a good reminder to check out that HuffP article again before the next round of family get-togethers.Your grief, like your love, belongs to you. No one has the right to judge what is yours to live. If you want to stop hearing judgment, clarify your boundaries. Make it clear that your grief is not up for debate. Click To Tweet
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