As a culture, we have powerful (but often subconscious) expectations about how gender affects our style of grieving. Moving beyond these gender-based expectations gives us the freedom to experience and express our grief in a style that is most effective for us without shame intruding.
We have a tendency to rank some losses as more "worthy" of grief than others and then use these comparisons to decide whether someone is grieving "appropriately." These attempts to rank and compare lead to shame rather than comfort in the face of grief, and today's post explores the fallacy of this approach.
When we face the kinds of grief that are not validated by the "rules" of our society, it's not only a deeply lonely pathway to travel, it's also a place where shame can easily take hold to hijack our grief. Learning to recognize grief and validate ourselves can help prevent shame from getting in the way.
Every culture and social group has "rules" about what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to how we experience and express our grief. Shame arises when our experience does not match these "rules." Identifying the rules is the first step to developing resilience to this shame and making space for our own experience.
Grief is what we experience in the wake of life's losses and broken places, and that's a hard enough thing to navigate on its own. Shame is a very common hijacker of the grief experience that makes the journey even more challenging to get through.