I have been writing five positives on the internet daily for some time now. I wrote an article called “Building Your Positive Muscles” which outlines eight different ways to look on the bright side. In Happiness 101 I have been able to fill entire white boards with positives about subjects you would probably immediately dismiss as “bad”, such as 9-1-1 and World War II. I have become quite masterful at finding the positive in just about everything. Today I find myself grasping to find something positive about grief. As a therapist, I can tell you that the grieving process is essential. I always urge people to be patient with themselves as they go through the process, to not critique their grief or compare it to the grief of others. I will tell you that even in my therapist bag of tricks, I know of no short cut or way to make it easier. I know the only way through it, is through it. There IS one “wrong” way to grieve and that is to not do it at all; to keep one’s self so busy and/or numb to not do the emotional work. So, I see the positive of doing the grieving process – to prevent ourselves from being indefinitely in emotional pain.
But what is the positive of grief itself?
Sometimes when examining something and looking for the positive, I think of what would life be like without it? For instance, if my big toe were suddenly missing, how would my life be different? My balance would be ill effected. My other nine toes would be lonely, etc. So using this same logic, I examine grief. Poof! What if my life were never struck with grief again. And the answer that comes back to me is “GREAT!!” But upon further examination, I realize that I can only grieve deeply because I am willing to love deeply. Were I indifferent to death, I would also be indifferent to life. This is a choice I am simply not willing to make. I would rather have wonderful, deep relationships knowing that SOME day I will lose them, than to wall myself off.
So, today I appreciate my ability to grieve deeply for it tells me that I have allowed myself to love deeply.