Grief is horrible. It is usually derived from a cataclysmic event in someone’s life that is often unexpected. This can happen to anyone; someone you love or know could have a random serious medical condition tomorrow. Life is that fragile, I do not wish something like that on anyone. Now most of us reading this blog have some form of anxiety. Manageable for most of us but grief can spiral us out of control. Not just our grief but others as well.
I absorb other peoples emotional state, but like all good men I internalize it (joking…. Somewhat). The issue becomes when you absorb others emotional state or energy around a grief event this can spiral you towards revisiting your own grief events through your life. They don’t even have to be current, what you are doing is, is trying to empathize with the other person through a corollary of your own experiences.
If you are far along in your anxiety journey and can navigate that, bravo you’re doing awesome. Many of us can’t and it cripples us emotionally because we revisit some of the most painful episodes of our life. How do you deal with it, or as I quip in the title, how do you get out of others grief? It isn’t easy and requires a great deal of effort on your part because your instinct is to relate. How do you do it? You look them in the eye first. “What if they aren’t looking at me?” then you take both of their hands in yours (if appropriate), they will look at you then and say:
“I know you are hurting; I wish I could make this better for you. I will be right back”
You then go to another room if inside. If at a restaurant you go the bathroom. In a car? Instead of saying “I will be right back” you said “I need a quick minute” and say nothing.
This may seem callus, cold and harmful its actually just the opposite. What you are doing is you are breaking the grief energy by not allowing yourself to be a conduit. Everyone has to grieve but the longer you do, the harder it becomes to escape its negative consequences. When you come back you can discuss the issue, offer sympathy, listen everything you normally would.
By breaking the flow immediately you give yourself and the person grieving pause. That pause is an opportunity to have other energy flow in. Breaking the continuous flow of grief is paramount to keeping anxiety in check. Do this regularly with those in grief, again come back to them provide them with support but when the energy starts to filter to you, break its flow with a polite removal of yourself.
This is a subtle social skill that if mastered will benefit you tremendously as you develop it. It may seem selfish, or self-absorbed and I can see why some might say that. The truth is breaking grief moments help expedite the opportunities for other moments to filter in. A story comes on the news, a song plays on the radio, a child needs attention. It’s not perfect but as individuals with anxiety grief can literally be a killer. Address it with as much grace as you can muster but always be aware of it.
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