Good Grief.

good grief


I spend a lot of time helping people cope with grief as a result of death.  Grief is seen as the nasty stuff that accompanies the loss that no one wants; the death of a loved one.

But have you ever thought about good grief? This is the grief that accompanies happy changes in life; like your child graduating from school, or moving to a new job.

Rob Bell introduces the concept in a recent RobCast (episode 24- available on iTunes). I was introduced thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert who interviewed him in a recent Magic Lesson’s podcast.

I am empowered by the concept of good grief. It simply says, that the reason that we feel resistant to change, even happy change, is that we have, if we really take the time to investigate, a sense of loss. So in the case of good change- like your child moving to high school instead of primary school, the loss you feel is real. It’s just not really spoken about. You’ve spent seven years getting to know the school, the teachers, and you’ve developed friends.

But you’re excited that your child is moving on in life and happy about the new adventures that they will have in high school. So why the tears at graduation? It’s your body’s way of reminding you that you feel attached to the school, and the way of life that you have been accustomed to. When you actually acknowledge this, and take the time to grieve (appropriate to the circumstances), then you can move forward with relish.

The same concept can be applied to your new job. Look back at the great times you had, the results you accomplished, the new colleagues you met, and shared both the good times and bad times with. Take a moment to really savour it. Feel the joy, and the sadness. Then exhale deeply.

The future is ahead of you and it’s exciting!