Megan Devine

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Tips for the Rally Team: How to Support Someone in The...

Header Image Tips for the Rally Team: Supporting Someone in Their Grief Sounds True Blog

Tip #1: Claiming your discomfort allows you to show up and be present. From the griever’s perspective, it’s a huge relief to be around those who are willing to be uncomfortable and show up anyway.

If you aren’t sure you should say something—ask. Err on the side of being present. Your effort really is noticed and appreciated.

Tip #2: Don’t be a cheerleader. When things are dark, it’s OK to be dark. Not every corner needs the bright light of encouragement. In a similar vein, don’t encourage someone to have gratitude for the good things that still exist. Good things and horrible things occupy the same space; they don’t cancel each other out.

Do mirror their reality back to them. When they say, “This entirely sucks,” say, “Yes, it does.” It’s amazing how much that helps.

Tip #3: Don’t talk about “later.” When someone you love is in pain, it’s tempting to talk about how great things are going to be for them in the future. Right now, that future is irrelevant. Stay in the present moment, or if the person is talking about the past, join them there. Allow them to choose.

Tip #4: In all things, not just in grief, it’s important to get consent before giving advice or offering strategies. Ask the person whom you’re supporting, “Are you wanting empathy or a strategy right now?” Respect their answer.

Tip #5: Lean in and hang back. Respond to your friend, be curious and responsive to their needs. At the same time, don’t ask the grieving person to do more work. Observe how things are landing for them, but in those early days, please don’t expect—or demand—that they show up with their normal emotional-relational skills. They do not have them. Asking the grieving person to educate you on how best to help is simply not something they can do.

Excerpted from It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine.

 

Megan Devine Tips for the Rally Team: Supporting Someone in Their Grief Sounds True Blog

Megan Devine is a writer, speaker, and advocate for emotional change on a cultural level. She holds a master’s in counseling psychology. Since the tragic loss of her partner in 2009, Megan has emerged as a bold new voice in the world of grief support. Her contributions via her site Refuge in Grief have helped create sanctuary for those in pain and encouragement for those who want to help. For more, visit refugeingrief.com.

 

 

 

 

It's Ok That You're Not Ok - Tips for the Rally Team: Supporting Someone in Their Grief Sounds True Blog

 

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Pinterest Tips for the Rally Team (3)

Holiday Help for Those in Grief

There is no doubt that the holiday season adds an extra measure of pain to people already bearing more than they can, more than they should ever have to. Death, illness, massive life events — they all sour the season in ways those outside your loss can’t understand.

Whether you’ve always loved the holidays or avoided them as best you could, the first several seasons after a death or massive life event are always difficult. So many people want to make this a “good” holiday for you, but first and foremost, you need to understand what is best for yourself during this rough time. Understand how to find a comforting place through all the chaos:

 

Say no a lot. Really. Other people will tell you you should say yes to things, get out more, be social. But if “being social” gives you the hives, why on earth would you do that? Remember that “no” is a complete sentence. You can say “no, thank you” if you must say more.

Choose your gatherings. If you do choose to attend something holiday-ish, choose wisely. Sometimes a big crowd is easier than a small one because you can slip out un-noticed as you need to. While a small gathering might have been most comfortable in your life instead.

Find ways to be alone-together with others. Musical offerings, candlelight meditations or services — check those little local newspapers and see what’s going on in your community.

Volunteer. If you are feeling stressed by family obligations, choose this as a good opportunity to get some space and serve others who may need some lifting up too.

Have a plan. Before you go to a party or an event, be sure to make your exit plan clear — with yourself. Give yourself an out, whether that is a specific time limit or an emotional cue that lets you know it’s time to go.

Check in with yourself. This is true not just for events and gatherings but for every single moment of life. Take just a minute to take a breath, one good inhale and exhale, and ask yourself how you’re doing. Ask yourself what you need in that moment.

Leave whenever you want. Stop whatever you’re doing whenever you want. Please remember that this is your life. You do not have to do anything that feels bad or wrong or horrifying. Even if you agreed to participate in something, you can change your mind at any time.

 

The holidays are going to hurt, my friend. That is just reality. Whether you are missing someone who should be part of the festivities or someone who shared your love of quiet winter evenings over raucous partying, this season will add some to your grief.

Companion yourself. Care for yourself. Listen. Reach out where it feels good to reach, curl in when that is what you need. Make this season as much of a comfort to you as you can. And when it is not a comfort, know we’re here. All of us who are grieving over someone we lost: We get you. We understand.

 

Looking for more great reads?

 

 

Excerpted from It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine.

Megan Devine holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Through her many articles and speaking engagements, she has emerged as a bold new voice in the world of grief therapy. She recently released her first book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Megan Devine: The Howl at the Center of Grief

Megan Devine is a mental health counselor who has become known as one of the most promising emerging voices in the field of grief therapy. With Sounds True, she has released the new book It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami speaks with Megan about It’s OK That You’re Not OK and the tragedy that inspired the book—the accidental drowning of her partner. With this in mind, Tami and Megan discuss “the wild howl at the center of grief,” the challenge of shouldering things that only we can carry, and why “letting go” is a myth. They also talk about what you can do for someone enduring the grieving process and why it can be best simply to lend an understanding ear. Finally, Megan unravels the concept of “fixing” grief and why there is an intrinsic connection between grieving fully and loving well. (69 minutes)

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