One of the most amazing parts about being human is that we are all so unique.
You might find similarities within friends and companions, but at our cores, we are all distinctively diverse.
However, one thread that connects everyone is emotion.
We have all felt happy, sad, excited, nervous, fearful and angry. But, the one emotion I find the most fascinating is grief.
Grief has the ability to be all-consuming. It can swallow you up whole, locking you in its tormented abyss.
It’s an emotion that, more often than not, you have to claw your way out of.
Grief is something that once burned so deeply within me, I was unsure if I would ever overcome it.
Clinical psychologist and author, Kay Redfield Jamison, writes, “Grief is so human, and it hits everyone at one point or another, at least, in their lives. If you love, you will grieve, and that’s just given.”
We will all grieve at some point in our lives. Perhaps we already have, or maybe it has yet to reach us, but it is something all of us will suffer through.
We can find comfort in the fact someone out there has felt what we are feeling and we are not alone.
We form deep connections and bonds with people, and when they dissipate, we feel immense pain. That is because if we love, we will grieve. That is life.
Recently, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband to a tragic treadmill accident while vacationing in Mexico.
Sandberg chronicled how she is dealing with the loss and the lessons she has taken from it.
The people who were moved by what she wrote have also felt that same all-consuming grief she is feeling.
They were able to identify with her agony over losing a loved one.
Although losing someone is tragic and grief can take over, there is always a silver lining. There can be positive sides to grief.
Grief helps us become more understanding of others.
We’ve been told before we need to cut people a break in life. We shouldn't judge them because we don’t know what they might be going through.
When you have experienced grief and loss, it makes you more aware of people’s feelings. You become more understanding of others.
You try and remember that when someone is acting like a total jackass, there could be a deeper reason to his or her behavior.
Maybe we just don’t see the full picture. Although, in a perfect world, people would always be kind no matter what they’re going though, you can still do your part by trying to understand people, even if they aren’t being nice to you.
When times are tough, our strength shines through.
Have you ever noticed that the strongest people you know have gone through hell and back and are still standing?
We learn to embrace our strength when things are going poorly and when there are tragic events taking place.
When we are being tested, our strength emerges and we can show what we are truly made of.
We become resilient and ready to take on any challenges life may throw at us.
There will always be people who will support and love you.
When someone passes away, you start to see communities coming together to help those who are grieving.
People visit, send cards and flowers and attend funerals to show their support.
When you are in a low place, a place so consumed with grief, having the comfort of those around you can truly make a difference.
Whether it’s close friends, family or even acquaintances and strangers, that love and those kind words are what make something so tragic a little bit easier.
During this time, you find people will stop thinking about themselves and their own problems they are dealing with. Instead, they will focus on comforting those who are hurting.
Grief reminds us of our vulnerabilities.
I think everyone cares about what others think to a certain extent. But, have you ever noticed people reveal their true and raw selves when they are grieving?
Grief can remind us of our vulnerabilities and bring down the walls we have built around ourselves.
Last week, I witnessed my friend receive bad news of an illness in the family.
This was the first time I had ever watched someone outside of my own family receive news like this, and it was heartbreaking.
She had been told her grandmother had a tumor, and there was nothing the doctors could do for her.
As her father relayed the information to her, I watched her face change as a flood of emotions took over.
She was trying to process the information she was just given, and I could see she went from calmness, to disbelief, to frustration, to anger and then to despair.
In that moment, I could tell they felt like they were the only ones in the room, wrapped up in their own feelings of sorrow.
Watching them was both sad and beautiful. They weren’t trying to hide or act a certain way; they were just fully consumed in an outright emotion. Even the strongest people can have moments of fragility.
Grief will give you a newfound appreciation and thirst for life.
With grief and healing comes a newfound appreciation for life. You stop taking people and things for granted.
You start experiencing life in a new way, and you no longer sweat the small stuff.
You learn to let things go. You try and laugh a little harder, breathe a little deeper and love a little stronger.
Life is short, so why not make the most of it?