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Honoring Our (And Each Others’) Grief Reactions


Last week many of us lost that American icon. Well not all of us knew him personally, many of us had followed him for the majority of his career. when we learned that Stephen "tWitch" Boss had died by suicide, the reactions were vast from shock to hurt to even anger. People who have had personal experiences of suicidal thoughts and even suicidal attempts reflected deeply, and those who have been personally impacted by the loss by suicide of a family member likely experienced a re-opening of a painful wound. My point is that when someone dies by suicide it rings a particular type of trauma and The grief from this type of loss hits differently. For some, it's the inability to understand why someone might take such a rash action. For others, it's the shock of seeing someone who appeared to be okay and even "happy" on the outside and suddenly (and traumatically) learning that clearly, they were not. In trying to make sense of it all, people may say things like 'he seemed so happy', and ask questions like 'were their signs we missed?', and for some people, even those responses can be activating.

What's important to understand is that death and loss are traumatic and painful experiences for those who are left behind, and everyone manages their grief emotions differently. In NLP (neurolinguistic programming) we have a saying 'people have different models of the world'. What that means is that each person experiences life through a different lens according to the various filters that have been acquired over time. When we don't respect and honor one another's lived experiences we create an unsafe environment for expression. Furthermore, though subtle, telling another that they shouldn't have a particular grief reaction can be experienced as grief gaslighting. When we are hurting, it's important not only to honor our own losses but also to honor the experience of the loss of others. Now, it is possible that one can experience further activation of their own grief and trauma by another's grief reaction. Therefore, it is extremely important that when there is a loss (whether personal or vicarious) to take moments to care for yourself. 

I personally deeply felt the loss of Mr. Stephen Boss having followed his career from his SYTYCD days. I felt the shock of this loss particularly because of the outer appearance portrayed by him and his family. Even though I'm aware that things on the outside are not a reflection of what's going on inside, this was a potent and very painful reminder. It was also a call for me to check in with myself and how I was truly doing given my own personal struggles with functional yet deep depressive states. What I have learned being an NLP practitioner and NLP trainer is how to have compassion for myself and others during times like these.

The world is going through dark and challenging times, and I call you to check in with yourself, check in with your friends, and check in with your loved ones. I call you to identify safe spaces and safe people that you can turn to when you are in those dark places. And finally, I urge you to have respect, compassion, and tolerance for others lived experiences, especially when it comes to grief and loss. We continue to speak out about normalizing and prioritizing talking about mental health. However, if we don't make it safe for those suffering in silence to speak, we will only continue to perpetuate the cycle.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please reach out. If you are feeling afraid or unsafe to reach out to people you know, you can get anonymous and non-judgemental, immediate support on the Suicide Hotline. DIAL 988.

Master your inner voice, and help others do the same. Join our next Mind ReMapping NLP Mastery training and certification, and become a master communicator, learn trauma-informed coaching & consulting, and master the art of therapeutic storytelling? Schedule a free NLP Training interest call at www.remapmymind.today

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Saturday, 13 April 2024