Grief Doesn’t Heal Without Acceptance

· July 30, 2018

After the death of a loved one or a breakup, among many other situations that can happen, we all agree on one thing: we all feel grief. But sometimes we get stuck in that stage. We forget that grief doesn’t heal without acceptance and, even less so, without pain.

Grief, by definition, requires willpower, commitment, faith, resources, etc. On the other hand, its course is well-known. First, we deny what happened, then we become angry about it, and then sadness becomes our predominant emotion. Finally, we accept what happened. But during all these stages, we suffer. And sometimes that suffering leads to stagnation.

We may spend a long time denying the breakup. It even hurts to look at their face. Perhaps it’s easier for us to get angry, to blame others or the world for what happened. For that reason, we’re stuck. We don’t allow ourselves to cry, to be sad, to release the bad feelings we feel inside.

Grief doesn’t heal without tears, moments of loneliness, feelings of hopelessness, and a lack of a desire to move on.

Grief doesn’t heal without pain

It may seem paradoxical, but grief doesn’t heal without pain. We need to sink into the well of our feelings.  However, we try to deny what happened. We get angry and later release all the sadness that has settled inside us. In this penultimate stage, despair makes an appearance and the situation becomes more critical due to the danger of abandonment.


Despair takes away the desire to do anything. It invites us to feel like the victim of circumstance and sink into depression with our actions. We believe that we don’t have the strength to move on and get out of that pit where we have submerged ourselves.

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However, everything is the result of our perspective, or at least a good part. This means we create a great part of the reality that we wish to perceive. If in those moments the pain is so deep that we believe there’s no hope for us, it will be so. We have entered a dark room and have no strength to get out right now.

This feeling may keep us trapped for weeks, even months. However, the pain that we feed will end up easing our hold on us and we’ll get tired of this situation. One day, we’ll wake up wanting to get out of that pit of sadness where our own tears are drowning us.

If you feel like you have no energy, if disappointment and sadness have taken hold of you, the world can become unbearable. But think about the times when you were happy. It was great, right? Our vision of the world changes, depending on how we feel.

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Dreading our feelings

Although we know that grief doesn’t heal without pain and acceptance, the next time we enter this same stage, we’ll probably feel as clumsy as the first time. This is because we have a hard time feeling and because, when we do feel, we have a little voice inside our head telling us that those emotions will be there forever. That’s why we tend to flee.

When we have no choice but to deal with what we have experienced, we put certain strategies into practice to avoid feeling pain. So we go through each and every one of the stages of grief, some of which are more painful than others. We avoid that final stage at all costs, but it’s the one that will liberate us.

The well is not really a well, but rather a tunnel! It must be traveled. We enter it, and we have to get out of it. However, when we dread our feelings and accepting what we have experienced, our lack of hope makes us see it as a well in which everything is meaningless.

For that reason, we believe that we’ll never find a way of feeling good, of being happy and moving on after the death of a relative or a breakup. We believe that there will be no more adventures. We cling to those people and the situations we experienced with them so much so that we think we don’t stand a chance. However, this isn’t the case. But to understand it, you have to embrace the pain, feel it, and finally accept it in order to move on.

“In any case, there was only one tunnel, dark and lonely, mine.”

-Ernesto Sabato-