Let’s Stop Shaming Each Other Over Grief & Sadness


There was a conversation a few weeks ago on Facebook about grief & sadness.  The typical train of thought came up: grieving the loss of a loved one is somehow more painful than going through a divorce, breakup or the like.

Having never experienced the death of a spouse, I can’t speak to it.  Thank God I can’t.  I have lost loved ones, and I know that the sadness never quite goes away.  Time doesn’t heal it.  Nothing does.

But you know what?  Neither does the sadness from a divorce.  Or from anything else.  Anything that causes great pain never quite goes away.

What I haven’t been able to get out of my head though is how we so easily judge one another in this regard.

I’m sorry but you don’t get to choose how much pain any situation in my life caused me.  You just don’t.

You. Just. Fucking. Don’t.

There’s no moral high ground here.  There’s no Universal Law that states that your grief is somehow deeper or better than mine because of different circumstances.  There’s no right or wrong about it.  It just is.

Here’s what I know for sure:

Pain is pain.  Loss is loss.  You don’t get to judge the degree of anyone else’s emotional reaction to anything that happens in his or her life just because you’ve gone through something else.  Just as I don’t get to judge yours.

It makes me sick to my stomach whenever I am faced with how human beings attempt to shame one another for the feelings and emotions they have.  Absolutely sick to my stomach.  We shame each other for our feelings, our thoughts, our words, our actions, our bodies, our homes/cars/jewelry, etc.  It has become so engrained in us that we don’t even realize we do it.  Shaming one another has become our “default setting“.

Perhaps because it masks the one universal feeling we all share – the feeling that we are not good enough.

Attempting to shame someone who is sad or grieving is kicking someone when they’re down.  To me, it’s one of the lowest forms of human behavior.  And, it’s about time we end it.  Stop it.  Just stop it.

I grew up with a mother who wouldn’t know kindness if it moved in with her.  Her favorite sport when I was young was criticizing Vanna White’s clothes on Wheel of Fortune every night.

I know what it means to have to learn to be kind.  I know what it means to have to learn to be compassionate.  I know what it means to have to learn the difference between empathy and sympathy.

And recently, I’ve learned to recognize the look in someone’s eyes when they are acting crazy because of unspeakable pain.  I saw it in my mirror for months.  It’s what has taught me to be kind to myself.

It’s time to stop shaming one another.  About anything.  Including sadness & grief.

What one man can do is dream
What one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world
And make it new again

 John Denver



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