Image of a heart traced on a window and the words be gentle with yourself next to the heartDuring the 2 years I spent in grief and loss, I came to notice that I had expectations of myself that I ought to grieve this way or that way because someone else was. I thought I had to be strong for others around me who were also experiencing loss. I thought I couldn’t share how shitty it felt to have cried over a song that came on or the fragrance someone was wearing.

Over time, I began to realize I was making assumptions about how others grieved and that my grief didn’t need to look anything like theirs… it was its own thing… it was my own thing. This was a powerful realization for me.

As I journaled and got deeper into it, I realized I had been judging myself about how I was grieving because I was comparing my grief to how “I thought it should look.” I also realized I was assuming how others grieve and comparing myself to that, too.

Once I began to let go of the “shoulds,” I was able to more authentically show up in my own way, and it allowed me to expand and contract with my grief in a natural way.

I was able to share my pain. Share my heart. Share my experiences. All with so much more authenticity.

The moral of the story for me? Be gentle with myself.

Are you being gentle with yourself?

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