Listening to a podcast recently I heard a great piece of advice. The therapist being interviewed talked about how she makes it her mission to approach each of her clients with a beginners mindset. In essence she was saying that no matter what one client may have experienced or needed as treatment the next client had their own story and separate unique needs. The same can be said for how we approach grief support. To be the best at understanding the needs of the individual she would need to approach the situation as completely unique.
What it looks like to Approach Grieving as a Beginner
Everyone experiences some form of loss during their lifetime. Some have the misfortune of crossing paths with death and loss more than once. While the grief with one loss may have similarities with another one, it is unique. It is important to approach new grief with a beginners mindset as well. Grieving is not fun for anyone but it is important to dig into those feelings and feel them.
When you acknowledge your true feelings it becomes easier to work through them. Looking at your own grief story from a beginners mindset may allow you to dig deeper and learn more about your pain and direct you to a new place of healing. If you do the same thing each time you feel grief take over because it worked last time, you may be missing pieces.
Grief Support for others Using a Beginners Mindset
There are so many ways that you can be a part of someone’s grief support system. You may be a therapist or counselor, maybe you lead a support group of others who are experiencing grief. Simply being a trusted friend or family member of someone who is grieving also makes you a part of their grief support.
Being able to be there for a hurting loved one is one of the most beneficial ways to support them. Many people simply need an empathetic listener. Grief needs to be shown and heard. Validating the feelings of the griever is an important step on their way to healing. If you find yourself as someone who is offering grief support here is another perfect example of why approaching grief support as a beginner is so helpful.
Looking at Grief as a Beginner while still Using your Wisdom
Don’t assume that you have the answers to their needs. Approach the situation with a curiosity and try to understand what they need. See their grief story as unique. No matter how many times you have used certain steps to support yours or others grief, think first about having that beginner mindset. Look at each person and their story as if you have never seen it before.
Being a regular part of a support system, especially if it is your profession, ie; therapist, counselor, this is not to say do not use your training and experience. There is a wisdom that only comes from having experienced hardships. It is to say that in addition to your depth of knowledge and wisdom, look at each loss as a brand new story which may take a detour onto a different path to healing than anything you have seen before.
Grief looks different for everyone and needs new and different support unique to itself. So embrace each experience with curiosity and empathy. This will allow the healing to shine through.