Life isn’t a bed of roses. We are sometimes interrupted by grief to remind us of harsh life realities and the transience of human life. This could be in form of loss of a loved one, failure in exam or business, heartbreak, robbery attack, sickness, miscarriage etc.
During this period, we try to console the affected persons but in the process, we innocently do more harm than good; thereby making the grieving persons worse especially by the things we say.
While it’s important to comfort others in their grief, we must ensure we do not say the wrong things.
Below are 8 worst things to say to a to grieving person:
Perhaps this is the commonest words we say to a person in sorrow. Stop crying? What then should they do? Start laughing?
Crying is a way to express grief and relieve tension. It’s not healthy to bottle up emotions.
Let the grieving person express themselves. Let them cry. Offer them a towel instead, and pat their backs in love and understanding.
We often say this when the grieving person express themselves by talking about the past – memories, fears, regrets etc.
Leave them to express themselves. Sometimes, the bereaved just want to talk and they want you to listen. It could be their way of coping. Don’t shut them up. Just listen.
Lending your listening ears could be the best thing you can do for them.
“I know how you feel”
No, you don’t. You don’t know how they feel. It’s their pain, not yours. You can only imagine or empathize with them.
Even if you’ve gone through a similar pain before, you can’t feel exactly the same way because we handle and feel things differently.
“It happened for a purpose”
Of course, everything happens for a purpose but a grieving person doesn’t want to hear that. They don’t wanna know the purpose for the pain at that moment. All they wish for is that it never happened at all.
They might understand that it happened for a purpose later, but you shouldn’t tell them that when they’re grieving.
“You’ll get over it very soon. It’s just a matter of time”
This is an insensitive thing to say to a grieving person. When a person is grieving, they don’t think they’ll get over it. In fact, they don’t want to get over it even though they’ll eventually do. But they don’t want to hear it from you. Not at that moment.
“I’ll feel the void”
Many times we make empty promises to the bereaved just to make him feel better and hopeful. Those promises are usually forgotten and not fulfilled afterwards.
Don’t make promises that you won’t/cannot fulfil. Don’t raise the hope of the bereaved.
“Yours is better, worse happened to me….”
Sometimes we think sharing our experiences of a similar pain will help the grieving person realize they have it better, but we are only making light of their pain.
Also, remember it’s not about you this time. It’s their pain, not yours.
Don’t make the mistake of minimizing their pain just because you had a worse experience. It makes it look like they don’t have the right to feel what they’re feeling.
We might think we are doing the grieving person a favour by being loquacious. But sometimes, they just want your presence and your listening ears.
Your presence alone could be comforting. Know when to talk and when to be quiet.