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Why Words of Comfort Feel So Bad


Those we love never truly leave us. There are things that loss can’t touch.


From close friends to casual acquaintances, everyone has a take on your grief; everyone wants to make it better for you somehow. It’s part of being human: They want to take away what hurts. They want to help. But instead of feeling held and comforted, many feel shamed, shunned, and dismissed.
No one gets what we need.
So here is the thought…
Intense grief is an impossibility: there is no ‘making it better’. Words of intended comfort may just grate. ‘Help” from other well-meaning people feels like an intrusion.
Why does all this feel terribly wrong?
Most people approach grief as a problem to be solved. Your friends and family see you in pain, and they want to relieve your pain. Intentionally or not, by trying to solve your grief, they aren’t giving you the support that you actually need.
In addition, you might cringe or feel angry as friends and family try to comfort you because you may hear the second half of that sentence of support even when they are not saying it out loud. The implication, speaking louder in its own silence of stop feeling how you feel.
To feel truly comforted by someone, you need to feel heard in your pain. You need the reality of your loss reflected back to you – not diminished, not diluted. It seems counterintuitive, but true comfort in grief is in acknowledging the pain, not in trying to make it go away.
Grief is not a problem to be solved; it’s an experience to be carried. The work is to find – and receive – support and comfort that helps and allows you to live with your reality.
The reality of love and loss intertwined.

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