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Magic words to say when everything’s going wrong. (Not ‘everything happens for a reason.’)

I’m listening to a man tell a story. A girl he knows was in a catastrophic car accident, and now she resides in a state of near-permanent pain; a paraplegic, a lot of her hopes discharged.

I’ve heard it a million times before, but it never stops shocking me: He informs her that he thinks the catastrophe had led to positive changes in her life. He utters the words that are nothing less than emotional, religious, and psychological violence:

“Everything happens for a reason.”

He informs her that this was something that had to happen to allow her to develop. But that is the kind of bullshit that destroys lives. And it is categorically untrue.

After all these years working with people in pain as an advisor and adversity strategist, it still amazes me that these myths persist in spite of the fact that they’re nothing more than platitudes cloaked as elegance. And worst of all, they keep us from doing the 1 thing we have to do if our own lives have been turned upside down: grieve.

Here’s the fact: As my mentor Megan Devine has so beautifully said: ‘Some things in life cannot be fixed. They could simply be carried.’

Grief is brutally painful. Grief doesn’t only happen when someone dies. When relationships fall apart, you grieve. When chances are shattered, you grieve. When disorders wreck you, then you grieve.

Losing a child cannot be fixed. Being diagnosed with a debilitating illness cannot be fixed. Facing the betrayal of your closest confidante cannot be fixed. These things can only be carried.

Let me be clear: If you’ve faced a catastrophe and someone tells you in any manner that your catastrophe was intended to be, happened for a reason, will make you a better person, or that taking responsibility for this will repair it, you’ve got every right to remove them from your life.

Yes, jealousy may result in expansion, but it often doesn’t. Often It destroys lives In part because we’ve replaced grieving together with information. Together with platitudes.

I now live an extraordinary life. I’ve been deeply blessed by the opportunities I’ve had along with the radically unconventional life I’ve built for myself.

But loss has not in and of itself made me a much better person. Actually, in some ways it has hardened me.

While loss has made me acutely conscious and appreciative of the pains of the others, it has also made me more likely to conceal. I have a more cynical view of human character and a greater impatience with those that are unfamiliar with what loss does to people.

By unleashing platitudes and “fixes” on those we promise to love, we deny them the right to grieve.

Most importantly, I’ve been left with a pervasive survivor’s guilt that has haunted me all my life. In short, my pain has never gone away, I’ve only learned to channel it into my work with others. But to say that my losses somehow had to happen in order for my presents to develop would be to trample on the memories of all those I dropped too young, all those that suffered needlessly, and most of those that confronted the very same trials I did however that did not make it.

I’m simply not going to do this. I’m not going to presume that God frees me for life instead of all of the others, just so that I could do what I do now. And I’m surely not going to pretend that I’ve made it simply because I had been strong enough, that I became “powerful” because I “took responsibility.”

I think people tell others to take responsibility if they don’t want to understand.

Understanding is harder than posturing. Telling someone to take responsibility” for their loss is a form of sexual masturbation. It is the reverse of motivational porn: It is sanctimonious porn.

Personal liability implies that there’s something to take responsibility for. You don’t take responsibility to be raped or losing your little one. You take responsibility for how you decide to live in the wake of the horrors that confront you, but you don’t decide whether you’re. We’re not that smart or strong. When hell visits us, we don’t get to escape grieving.

This is why all the platitudes and concentrate on repairs” are so harmful: by unleashing them on those we promise to love, we deny them the right to grieve.

In so doing, we deny them the right to become human. We steal a bit of their liberty precisely when they’re standing in the intersection of the greatest fragility and despair.

The fact remains that the one thing that even may be “responsible” amid loss is grieving.

I’ve grieved many times in my life. I’ve been overwhelmed with shame so powerful that it almost killed me. The ones who helped The only ones that assisted were those who were simply that there.

I’m here I’ve lived because they chose to love me. They adored me in their silence, in their willingness to suffer with me and along with me. They loved me in their desire to be as uneasy, as destroyed, as I had been, if only for a week, an hour, even only a few minutes. Most people don’t have any idea how utterly successful this is.

Healing and transformation may happen. But not if you’re not permitted to grieve. Because grief itself isn’t an obstruction.

Healing and transformation may happen. But not if you’re not permitted to grieve. Because grief itself isn’t an obstruction.

The obstacles come after. The choices as to how to live, how to carry what we’ve lost, how to weave a new mosaic for ourselves? Those come in the wake of grief.

Nevertheless our culture treats grief like a problem to be solved or a disease to be healed. We have done what we can to avoid, ignore, or transform grief. So that now, when you’re confronted with catastrophe, you generally find that you’re not surrounded by people You’re surrounded by platitudes.

So what exactly do we provide rather than “everything happens for a reason”?

The very last thing a person devastated by grief needs is information. Their world was shattered. Inviting someone Anybody into their planet is an act of great danger. To attempt to mend, rationalize, or wash their pain away only deepens their dread.

Instead, the most effective thing you can do is admit. To literally say that the words:

I admit your pain. I’m here with you.

Note that I said with you, maybe not for you. For implies that you’re likely to do something. That is not for you to reevaluate. But to stand together with your loved one, to suffer with them, to do everything however something is incredibly powerful.

There’s not any greater action for others than acknowledgment.

And That Needs no training, no special skills Only the willingness to be present and also to stay present, provided that is necessary.

Be there. Only be there. Don’t leave when you feel uneasy or any time you feel as though you’re not doing anything. Actually, it’s if you feel uneasy and like you’re not doing something you have to stay.

I admit your pain. I’m here with you.

Because it is in these areas From the shadows of terror we seldom allow ourselves to input where the starts of recovery are found. This recovery is found when we have others that are eager to enter that space alongside us. Every grieving person in the world requires these people.

I beg you, be among these people.

You’re more desired than you could possibly understand. And if you end up in need of these people, locate them. I guarantee they’re there.

Everyone else could go.

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