Three Tips for Helping Others Through Their Grief

| By Jodi Horton

Help without judgment.

The grief journey is an individual one, unique to a person’s experience. Just because a person may not grieve the way you do does not mean they are not grieving. When offering support to another, we must do so without judgment. Grief does not have rules.

Know yourself, and be open to learning.

It is easier to help another person through their grief when we understand our own relationship to grief. Know your beliefs and limitations, and recognize your comfort level. Do you have any unfinished grief of your own? Be careful to not let it interfere with helping another. As you think about how you can help another, be open to learning about their grief journey. Listen for what they find helpful, or what they believe about loss and grief. A little bit of listening may go a long way.

Acknowledge the person’s loss and offer him/her a safe space to share feelings.

Sometimes people are afraid or uncomfortable to speak directly about a person’s loss, to say the name of the individual who died. Avoiding the issue, or worse, the person, may leave them feeling isolated. Acknowledging the loss lets the other person know you’re willing to listen, and that you are offering a safe space for him/her to share feelings. However, don’t push if they aren’t ready to talk. Meet them where they are.

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