How Vulnerability Helps You Recover from Grief
Grief is the awful, painful, emotional and physical process of recovering from a loss in your life. Most likely the loss is a person, but perhaps it’s a beloved pet or loss of a lifestyle, your health, or your safety and security. Right now, many of you are dealing with the loss of what your life looked like just a few months ago. Maybe you’ve lost a friend, colleague, or family member to COVID-19, maybe not. But everyone has lost something during this pandemic. As you read on, think about a heavy loss that you’ve experienced recently and how you dealt with it.
So, What is Vulnerability?
Vulnerability is a concept that exists in our minds. Meaning, vulnerability is opening yourself up emotionally and mentally to others. When we talk about being vulnerable, we know that opening up to others and becoming emotionally vulnerable carries certain risks. The chance that you may be harmed somehow by being vulnerable and showing your true self might cause you to clam up and keep everything inside. You have a choice to be vulnerable or not in every situation, and sometimes you may choose to open up, and other times you may choose to keep everything inside of you.
Being Vulnerable Sounds Scary…
When experiencing grief after a painful loss, it is likely that you will either consciously or unconsciously decide whether to be unguarded or not. During grief, our minds only process as much as you can handle at a time. Some of the deep and intense emotions that you will experience during grief include sadness, longing, despair, anger, guilt, fear, and depression. Experiencing each of these emotions gives you an opportunity to either experience them alone or to share what you’re going through with others. While scary, this sharing with others is the vulnerability that can help you heal after loss.
Why Does Vulnerability Help You Heal?
A big part of processing your grief and healing again after loss is sharing your pain with others. Telling your story of your unique, personal loss and how it affected you is such a powerful tool for processing your grief. But if you never open up and show your vulnerability, your pain from the loss, you won’t have a chance to share your experience with others. Being open and honest about what you’re going through isn’t just sharing your burden with others, it’s getting understanding, empathy, and caring back in a way that helps your healing.
How Can I Be Vulnerable After a Loss?
During every step of your grief process, in each stage of your grief and along your own unique, personal grieving journey, you have an opportunity to be vulnerable. Telling your story of your loss to others in an honest and authentic way is a good step to start with. Not holding back when you feel tears coming on, or being honest when someone asks you how you are doing. Making sure that you are doing everything you can to work through your grief instead of ignoring it is perhaps the most powerful way for you to be vulnerable during your grief process.
Grief is painful, difficult to get through, and sometimes seems permanent. But you can heal from your loss, you can process through your grief, and you will feel better someday soon. How soon you’ll feel better and work through your grieving depends in part on how vulnerable you’re allowing yourself to be. The more open and honest you are, the more quickly you’ll recover. As you continue to go through the pandemic and experience different losses, think about your ability to be vulnerable, and you’ll get through it just fine.
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Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Therapy for grief and loss can meet many of your counseling needs. But, we know that is not all you might need. So, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, guest blogger, and owner of Catalyss Counseling in Englewood, CO. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.