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Grief Myth #2: Don't Feel...

How many times have you heard:

"Don't feel bad, it was just a dog"?

"Don't feel sad, he was a jerk, I didn't like him anyway"?

“Don’t burden others with your feelings.”

“Don’t cry…it will be all right”

"It’s ok, here's a cookie"?

Most recently at my dentist's office, I saw a woman bring with her a four-year-old boy. I overheard the woman explain that this was her nephew and he had "an attitude" this morning. She just picked him up from his Mom's house and after her appointment she was going to take him to his dad's house. The little boy was quiet, with his head down, not really wanting to engage in a conversation. In response, the receptionist told him "Why do you have an attitude? Don't act like that!" After a few minutes, the little boy began answering her questions and having a conversation with her.

On the outside looking in, I can only imagine the different emotions the little boy was feeling—he may have been sad to leave his Mom, mixed emotions about the change he was going to experience in his environments and what that meant for him, or even just confusion about what was going on.

But I will never know because at that moment he wasn't given the opportunity to share what he was feeling, he was just told to not have “an attitude.”

How often are these things said to you?

How often do you say them to others?

How helpful do you find these responses?

For most people, they are not helpful at all, they just reiterate that what they are feeling should be kept inside.

So if these responses aren’t helpful, what is helpful?


“What happened?”—then listen without judgment or comment.

“How are you feeling right now?”—then listen without judgment or comment.

“What can I do for you?”—then listen without judgement or comment, and do your best at helping them with what they need. Sometimes just a listening ear will alleviate some of the burden they are carrying.

Or even share with them, “I’m here for you, whatever you need.”

Something as simple as being a big heart with ears will help the people around you more than you can ever imagine. Being a big heart with ears saves you from trying to fix any problems that person has in their life—and they walk away feeling as if someone cares.

As always, however you are feeling today, you are never alone. I am here for you. I encourage you to give me a call 951.523.7959, send me an email at, or schedule a call.

I promise you, I may not know what to say or do, but I can always be a huge heart with ears.

I believe in you,


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