May I Join You for Lunch? We are all Different People with Different Strengths and Dreams

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May I Join You for Lunch? We are all Different People with Different Strengths and Dreams

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different-nationalities-1124478_960_720The other day I was having lunch and a nice older gentleman asked if he could join me. Of course I said yes and we had a nice conversation about politics, economics, and people. I believe that everyone is different, has different experiences, different skills, and believes in different things. This is contrary to our highly polarized political scene we have had in this country for the last several years. If an outsider came in and watched the news they would think there are four beliefs in this country, Trump, GOP, Clinton, and Sanders and everyone’s beliefs would line up exactly with one of these four -- there is no room for mixing and matching. The most vocal people are also the most polarized so we rarely hear about the people that choose a little from everyone and sit somewhere in the middle. Each candidate has things I like and things I don’t like as I am guessing most of you do too (this isn’t a political blog so please don’t post political comments, they will be deleted, even if I agree with them). Back to my lunch conversation, he was telling me about his son who left a good job to go work with him in his cattle business. It turned out that his father’s cattle business wasn’t a good fit but other things were. When a nearby opportunity opened up they were both ready to move into something very different but a better fit for his son. He said: “We are all different people with different strengths and dreams, he is not me so I why did I think the cattle business would be a good fit for him? There was no point in trying to put a square peg into a round hole.”

Grief is a very personal experience. The way we each process grief can be very different. We have different upbringing, different experiences, and have been taught to process grief in different ways. The Grief Recovery Institute takes a broader approach to grief than most of us are used to. They teach that any life-changing event may have some grief that needs to be addressed.  In contrast, our culture generally associates grief with death and bereavement. This broader definition forces us to look at grief in a bigger picture that encompasses more of our non-death related personal experiences. Things such as a break-up, job loss, moving to a new city, or a lost toy, all shape how we deal with, and have been taught to deal with, grief. Think back over your life when you had a break-up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, try to count the number of people told you something like “there are other fish in the sea” or “you’ll find someone else”? When a child loses a toy do we let them cry and scream about it or do we try to find them another one to play with? All of these are distraction methods that keep us from focusing on the grief and addressing the loss. These experiences we had and tools we learned as a child and an adult all shape how we deal with losses when they occur.

No two experiences are alike, even among siblings growing up together. Our experiences give us knowledge and hopefully wisdom that makes us all different people. When you know someone who is grieving the methods that worked for you may not work for someone else -- square peg, round hole. Be fluid and flexible when trying to help, validate and affirm their feelings without telling them what to do. Most often the answer is within ourselves, we just need to talk through it to find it.

Originally published at www.youngadultcaregiver.com

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Jean

Ditto on what Jan said!

jan

Thanks, Matt. So many intelligent, balanced and insightful points here. Interested in a run for the presidency?