“Improvement begins with I.”-Arnold H. Glasow
Grief is overwhelming, and grievers may frequently turn to their grief supporters for help getting through the initial trauma of loss and then healing. Some grief supporters are really great at being there for the griever in their lives, others aren’t as helpful. While being surrounded by amazing support is important for grievers, even the best grief supporter cannot heal a griever.
The willingness and the initiative to take the first step toward healing cannot be completed by a griever getting a piggyback ride from a grief supporter. That is, the grief supporter cannot carry the griever down a healing path. The willingness and the initiative to take the first step toward healing must come from the griever themselves.
Healing and growing from the grief wound are deliberate decisions a griever must make: no one can compel a griever to heal or grow or find something worth living for despite the loss of a loved one. For grief supporters, then, this means that your job is to listen and be present and do what is specifically asked of you. For grievers, this means that the action of healing is up to you and you alone.
In the context of grief, self-improvement means a griever accepting the task of growing from the pain, rather than trying to avoid it, and developing a healing path that moves them through grief, rather than circling around it. Only the griever can take the necessary steps to start walking on this road. Some grievers start right away, some need to wait a bit and let the dust settle first.
Grief is a burden only the griever can carry, and the path toward healing is one only the griever can create for themselves. Grief supporters can help shoulder a griever’s burden and can help encourage a struggling griever, but no one else can grieve or heal for a griever.
The path can be built step by step or pebble by pebble; there is no rule for how long or short, how narrow or wide the healing path should be. The healing path need only be one built by and for the griever.
What is one thing you can do as a griever to encourage personal growth?