While it is generally accepted that everyone grieves in their way, it has also been accepted that there are certain rules, stages, or steps in the grieving process. More people, however, are questioning these steps and if they apply to all people at all times. Here is a look at some of those traditional beliefs, why some are challenging those steps, and why grief may be more individualized than first thought.
Why Rules About Grief May Be Comforting
As humans, we like to have things understandable. It helps to organize beliefs in a pattern with a beginning, middle, and end. That can make rules about grief appealing, acceptable, and even comforting. While time has proven there may be merit to these stages of grief, they may not always be applicable.
Everyone’s Grief Is Special
More experts are recognizing how special each individual’s grief may be. There may be similar patterns of the process, but the length and depth of that grief can vary widely depending on everything from the relationship with the deceased to how the person passed away. Grief can be impacted by age, suddenness, religious beliefs, and emotional support. These all contribute to making a case that everyone’s grief is special.
Modern Beliefs View Grief as More Complex
While previous thought seems to simplify grief by sorting it into stages, more modern beliefs accept it as being more complex. Those grieving and those around them should be more accepting and understanding and trust their own instincts. They should acknowledge the difference between grief and sadness.
Grieving Differently May Not Be Bad
If a person demonstrates behavior that doesn’t fit a certain pattern when grieving, that may not be bad. They may have just discovered a path that works for them. Encouraging them to follow certain steps may not be beneficial for them as an individual.
Grief Is a Journey
More people are accepting that grief is a journey that has many paths. While there are some common, recognizable traits and steps in that journey, they are likely more individualized than previously accepted. As long as reasonably accepted behavior is being demonstrated, any pattern may be considered “normal.”
One still should be aware that people who demonstrate signs of complicated grief can benefit from therapy or counseling. When grief is so deep and so severe, the person becomes completely detached and is limited in functionally, help can be beneficial.
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