Be strong, time heals, move on, are phrases that we may hear when we suffer a loss and may hinder our grieving process. Because grief is the normal expression of a loss, but it is not easily recognized in society, we may internalize some of these messages which could interfere with our healing process because we learn to suppress our pain. This message of denying one’s pain may come, with the best intention, from a person with authority, such as a parent, a doctor, or even a religious leader. It is as though we are not allowed to grieve and we bury all those feelings inside of us.

I have had clients who the first thing they tell me when they share the loss of their loved one is “but I have been very strong.” What does being strong convey? Are we supposed to suppress our grief because we need to “move on”? I believe there is a misconception between being strong and not being able to express our grief. We can have spiritual strength and at the same time be able to cry with our loved ones, including our children. Families that share their grief and express it in a healthy way are able to move forward and strengthen their ties even closer.

Let’s keep in mind that grief is expressed in different dimensions, not only the emotional. Therefore, we need to also pay attention to our physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects and allow ourselves and our loved ones to live their grief. It is only then that we can release it.

Because the way we express grief can be learned we can also unlearn it. I suggest you take a pause (it would be better if you do this while meditating) and go to your inner place and think about a loss you may have not processed and reflect on how you feel, how you processed your grief and how was the response of others as you grieved. This exercise may bring you awareness in how you process your losses.

Do you give yourself permission to grieve?

Author's Bio: 

Ligia Houben is a specialist in life transitions and transformation. She is a coach, speaker, and certified grief counselor. Ligia has a passion for life and believes all of us are able to fulfill our purpose if we can only change our attitude and beliefs. Her work has been centered in the area of grief and loss, expanding into meaning and growth. Ligia has delivered her message from corporations to hospitals. She works with the bereaved, the person who needs to face a new stage in life, children of aging parents, or people searching for more meaning in their lives. Ligia has appeared in numerous radial and TV shows, including CNN Español, NPR, NBC, and Univisión.

Ligia obtained her B.A. from the University of Miami in Psychology and Religious Studies and a Masters Degree in Religious Studies and Gerontology from Florida International University. She also has a graduate certificate in Loss and Healing from St. Thomas University, a certificate in Thanatology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Grief Counseling. She is also adjunct professor of Kaplan University, Florida International University, and Miami Dade College where she teaches courses on Ethics, Religion and Death and Dying.
Ligia is the author of the self-help book Transform your Loss. Your Guide to Strength and Hope/ This book contains "The Eleven Principles of Transformation™" which is a system that involves the emotional, spiritual, and cognitive aspects of the person as they face a transition or loss. Ligia created this system of transformation to help people transform their losses and change their lives.