Losing a loved one is one of the hardest and most painful things a human being can ever go through. Even if you were prepared for their passing, when it actually does happen, it feels like the wind has been knocked out from you and you’re falling into a dark, unending abyss. To say that grief is heartbreaking is an understatement. Even though grieving your loved ones is necessary for healing, the journey is not exactly a very easy one, is it?
When someone close to you is grieving, it can be hard to see them in pain, and naturally, you would want to make them feel better. But sometimes, even though your intentions might be pure, certain statements can end up making them feel worse (even if they are not hurtful statements, per se).
When it comes to comforting and supporting a grieving person, always keep these three things in mind – showing empathy, being a good listener, and giving them the love and support they need to heal from their pain, which also means avoiding making certain statements.
8 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who Is Grieving
1. “At least they are not suffering anymore, and are in a better place now.”
Even though you might have their best interests at heart, this one statement can break their heart even more. When you lose a loved one, all you care about is the fact that they are not there anymore; it’s an entirely emotional thing, and logic and rationality never help. This statement can also make them feel as if you are taking their grief casually, and minimizing their pain.
So instead of reminding them of the person who is not there anymore, focus on how they are feeling. They might be glad that their loved one is not suffering anymore, but the pain of losing them is still fresh. Try to be there for them by understanding what THEY are going through and give them a shoulder to cry on if needed.
2. “I can understand how you might be feeling.”
This statement might seem harmless and supportive, but sometimes it can come across as insensitive and tone-deaf. Everyone’s process of grieving is different, and it’s not always possible to know exactly how they are feeling when they are in pain. So making a statement like this can make them feel invalidated and patronized.
If you want to actually show support then instead of deciding how they feel, let them talk to you about their real feelings. Let them express the emotions they’re going through because this will not just help them heal, it will also make them appreciate your efforts more.
3. “It’s amazing how well you’re handling this.”
Even if they seem alright from the outside, chances are they are just putting on a brave face to deal with their grief. On top of that, if you appreciate them for handling everything perfectly, it might make them think that their grieving is not that big of a deal, and they will end up suppressing their true feelings. Until and unless you know for sure, that they are actually getting better at dealing with the pain, refrain from making statements like this.
Acknowledge that they might be in a lot of pain, and let them know that it’s okay. Let them grieve the way they want to and give them the time, space, and understanding to come to terms with the loss, no matter how long it takes. Be supportive, not patronizing.
4. “How are you holding up?”
Again, this is one of those really harmless statements that everyone asks the grieving person. But what you don’t see is how the aggrieved person is interpreting this seemingly harmless question.