Love-Life Tip: Grieve When Love Is Lost

When love comes it’s easier than when it leaves, right? Even though love can drive us crazy when it arrives unannounced, for most of us it’s a great joy when it arrives. I think the biggest problem for lovers is we are forgetting how to ‘grieve.’ Why? Because grief hurts and we try to get away from anything that hurts even if it is good for us.

Grief is intimately connected to love. Basically, we don’t control grief, it comes when we’ve experienced a loss of love. Losing someone we are attached to will trigger this emotion. The problem is we’re losing respect for this natural emotion and we’re not sure what to do with it when it occurs. Let me tell you why I think grief is so important if you want healthy love in your life.

For starters, grief is the true opposite of love, not hate. Grief is what happens to a lover when love is lost. When grief arrives it means something. It’s not just a useless emotion you should get rid of as soon as possible. Grief clears the heart of attachments that have been lost. If you don’t grieve after a loss of love, your attachment to that love will not leave you. It will occupy space in your heart that you will need to be in love again once you’ve finished grieving.

In this respect, grief is therapeutic. It represents the healing that the heart needs after losing love. It is as necessary to grieve as it is to love, in fact, they come as a unit. If you love expect at some point to grieve. The sooner you accept this fact of life the better prepared you will be to love. Let me tell you a few other things about grief that will help you grieve in a healthier way the next time this emotion comes to you.

Remember, grief is is not a sickness and it does not mean you are weak. It simply means you were (are) in love. Grief does not mean you are less of a man, woman, father, mother, or for that matter, less of a person. Grief is as natural as rain after a day of sunshine. Learning how to grieve means you don’t interfere with this emotion when it shows up. Instead, you understand the importance of grief and you let grief have its time in your feelings.

Grief like any other emotion has a beginning, middle, and an end. It doesn’t last forever. And if you are welcoming, it tends to stay for shorter periods of time over time. It’s when we resist grief that it becomes ugly and shows up as symptoms or other signs of illness. By the way grief when its distorted and unresolved can turn into all kinds of things all the way from depression to physical symptoms.

Grief feels like a mixture of sadness and the feeling of having lost someone important in your life. Grief should not be hidden from your family, friends, or children. Especially children, if you have them you want to teach them how to have  their emotions in a healthy way, and that includes grief when someone is lost. That will help them maintain a healthy love-life later on in life.

Crying is an important part of the grieving love experience (don’t forget we’re mostly water!). Don’t suppress your tears, it’s not healthy to do that. Find a way to fit grieving into your busy schedule. When you respect this emotion and make time for it, grief is more manageable and resolves sooner. Don’t medicate it, run away from, or deny it the time needed to resolve and return you back to love.

Remember, grief naturally attracts the love and care-taking of others. I’m sure you’ve had the experience in your life of feeling sadness when witnessing the grief of another person. Grief is highly communicative. We can all share this emotion sympathetically. Love joins us together and so does grief. They both possess the ability to connect us in ways that help us love and understand each other. The last item I’ll mention is, when a person is grieving they are displaying their need for love. This is a need we all possess.

When grief occurs, the loss of love we feel and express is dismantling our attachment to the person lost. This is happening while the need for love emerges again and becomes visible to others. This is a state of emotional vulnerability and openness, the best psychological state for new experiences of love to be received. Now I hope you can better understand the importance of grief for love and your love-life.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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