By Souls of Silver
Words are all we have, but words fail us when we probably need them the most. What do you say to someone who has recently lost a loved one? Or what could you possibly tell someone who has just lost his job?
Sometimes, in our zeal to make them feel better, we inadvertently make them feel worse about it. We say things with a good intention and heart, but end up messing them up even more. What we construe as helpful, insightful, or consolatory, ends up as pure drivel that would drive anyone up the wall.
Here are a few phrases to never tell someone who is going through the various stages of grief.
Never say that. You have no idea how much it hurts. This isn’t a consolation. If you tell someone whose wife just died that ‘at least she didn’t suffer much’, it isn’t a consolation. The person has gone through a terrible loss and finding some stray happiness along the way isn’t going to help. Let them heal in their own time, without trying to find some moment of light in the darkness. For, that brightness won’t really help dispel the dark.
‘Things Happen For A Reason’
When you tell someone that something that happened, happened for a reason, you are essentially telling them that the Universe was using them as a scapegoat for its ideas. And no one wants to hear that. They have just lost something they prized and finding reason in that loss isn’t what they want.
Don’t advise them at this point at least. They need some support, some validation from the hurt they have received and advice isn’t going to cut it. They could have done a lot of things in a lot of different ways to prevent what happened but they didn’t and it did happen. So, instead of advising them about what to do next, why not simply be there and listen to them as they vent it all out. Don’t tell them what to do next. There will be time for that.
Again, humans have a weird notion of explaining things when they are under duress. But, try not to do that when you can see that the other person is not getting over their grief just because you told them why they were fired from the job. Don’t try to bring out the reasons that caused the pain, to be precise. Explanations have their own time and let them come at that pace.
“What Have You Learnt?”
A big no. Never should you ask this. For, it doesn’t matter. Even if you think that they needed to learn a lesson, don’t say it. Keep it to yourself, for right now, they would not appreciate you finding faults in it. So, simply sympathize with their situation. They could have lost a loved one and you, reminding them how a lack of medical facilities led to this, is never going to be appreciated. Never.
All you need to do is be a wall. Simply listen. Don’t talk and make things more difficult and confusing for them.
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