The easiest thing we can do to survive grief is pretend we are not hurting. It doesn’t mean we will heal or feel better, but we will at least guard ourselves against the onlookers and questions we have no answers for. Sometimes we hide what we do out of fear of judgment or condemnation. Maybe we hide our grief because we don’t want someone to see us as weak. But I want us this week to understand that if it matters, we can let it matter even if it costs us something else we think might matter more.
The worst feeling in grief is additional rejection. At least for me, I hate when someone tells me my feelings or my grief is invalid. What matters to me is meaningless to them so why am I wasting my time feeling sorry or sad? To be honest, people with that kind of response to grief can take a long walk off a short pier.
Forgive me if I’m a little more outwardly sensitive this week, or maybe just a bit reactive, because the social media world has been inundated by dismissive, insulting individuals who would rather minimize the pain around them then admit they might have contributed to someone’s grief.
Typically I just pull away and get offline when the vitriol becomes too great. But I also want to speak to the people I know feeling just like me. Those of you feeling steamrolled, overlooked, dismissed, and pushed aside. So let’s take a moment together to reflect on how we can create meaning where it has been taken from us. To redefine what matters and to let it truly matter, even when it hurts.
For me, something I’ve always struggled with the meaning of is reputation. The way I’ve moved through my entire life has carried some burden of worrying about how others will perceive, accept, or reject me. It’s lead to a lot of grief – some I haven’t been able to reckon with just yet, too.
But now, I’m ready to let my reputation be whatever I want it to be. Because in doing so, I get to place value on what really matters – and I’ll tell you, there is nothing more freeing than realizing that what other people think about me is not one of those things.
First and foremost, you matter. Your whole being, even when it feels disparate and disconnected, matters.
When we are dismissed in our pain, we can feel dismissed as a person. Our reputation as a strong, solid person suddenly feels like a lie. We’re easily challenged here, because our identity has been so long intertwined with our grief that rejection of our big emotions and pain is rejection of us as people. And there may be some people rejecting you outright because they’re not capable of holding space for you to heal or fall apart.
But a lack of capacity in another person does not define a lack of value in you.
Go back to your core values for a moment. At some point, you established at least one core value about how you would let others treat you, or how you would treat yourself. That value, whether you see it or not, established a boundary around your life. That boundary sends the message of what you will or will not tolerate when it comes to your personhood.
And when we grieve, our boundaries get a little blurred.
So in this moment, take a deep breath in and visualize that boundary. If you can’t see it, bring that core value to mind.
It’s easy to lose sight of the purpose when we’re trying to watch the skies and dodge the arrows coming our way.
No matter what boundary or core value comes to mind, it is a reminder that you matter – that what you carry is worthy of protection, honor, care, and concern.
You and your values matter when you exist in a joyful, lighthearted way – and you matter when you exist in a complicated, heavyhearted way. But for too long, we’ve allowed our wounds to remain exposed, open to criticism, and willing to internalize the vitriol demeaning our very lives.
What you care about matters. What you see as valuable and beautiful draws attention back to you in a way that you deserve.
If it matters, let it matter.
If you believe it carries meaning, then it does.
If your heart is connected and full because of your connection to another – living or non-living – then you are living fully alive.
We have so many misguided notions in the West about meaning, what matters, and who gets to decide.
But it’s you.
You get to decide.
So decide what matters, what is meaningful, what brings you to life, and practice embodying that existence as much as you can.
So that one day, that embodiment practice will come so naturally, you won’t even hear the other voices trying to argue otherwise.
Thank you for listening to episode 94 of Restorative Grief. I’ve felt a pull toward the simpler concepts lately, because I think we can be too bogged down by learning and intellectualizing our grief stories if we’re not careful. So as you begin to take in what you’ve just listened to, I hope you’ll do so at a slow and intentional pace. Let your heart, body, and spirit connect to the details as much as you allow yourself to think about them. Your entire self carries wisdom, but we can have a hard time accessing our “other brains” in the heart, body, and spirit so now is the perfect time to practice.
If this is your first time listening to Restorative Grief with Mandy Capehart, I’m so pleased to know you’re here! You’ve found my little corner of grief literacy and hopefully, will choose to subscribe to the show and stick with us! Be sure to leave a five star review and share this episode or others on your social media – it’s the best way to support this work as well as help others find grief support that they too, may find meaningful. Thank you, as always, to the premium subscribers and patrons of the show. It’s a true honor to know you’re standing in this griefy little corner with me.
And as always, one last thing. Please remember, the only solution for grief is to do the work of grieving. Thank you for listening. I’ll see you next week.
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