Ask a Grief Coach
Question: Should I Stop Looking for Silver Linings?
Answer: Your process and story belong to you.
Ask a Grief Coach is an online column to address commonly received questions in private work with my clients. All names are kept anonymous, and the questions are shared with permission. As you read, keep the context of your own story in mind. No answers found here will apply directly to your circumstance because your grief is unique to you. However, the hope is that you will find tools and tips of support, whether you are the griever or the supporter.
There is a lot of talk about not rushing to “find the good” in my grief, but I’m not sure that’s good advice. I am carrying a lot of grief from different places, and I’m tired of feeling so low all the time. Just because grief is awful doesn’t mean I have to feel awful all the time about my loss. Am I only able to heal when I stop looking for the silver linings?
Ready for hope
You are on the right path! Grief is exhausting. It hurts like hell, but if we frame it as something to be avoided, we will continue in avoidance and experience shock when unrecognized grief surfaces. Grief and the emotions it brings are just information for us to unpack.
With that said, it sounds like you are exactly in the place to start looking for the hope in your loss! The advice to “stop looking for silver linings” is not about our own, individual healing. When we are engaging with the emotions and truth of our loss, we are doing the active work of healing. We are investigating what was, what would have been, and who we are right now amid our grief.
The danger with this phrase is when we start applying our experience of healing and hope through grief to the grief story of others. We need to take our time to heal. Telling others what worked for us (especially without their invitation to do so) causes wounds we may never see.
You want to make sure you’re not putting pressure on yourself in the early stages of grief to see silver linings. Taking time to do the work of lament is necessary for healing. Grief needs your authentic self to show up and experience this unavoidable part of life. But once you feel you have gained a sense of understanding, then by all means: Pursue hope!
The phrase “silver linings” is just a cliché we use to describe the way we too quickly chase after what good will come of the rainclouds. Wisdom knows better. In a storm, some people get wet and others will feel the rain.
Hoping greatly with you,
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Mandy Capehart is a small business owner and certified grief and life coach. She is the creator of The Restorative Grief Project, an online community focusing on one another’s stories and new methodologies for grief, creating a safe environment for our souls to heal and our spirits to be revived. To learn more, visit www.MandyCapehart.com/grief or follow along with weekly columns on Ask A Grief Coach!