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5 Ways Living With Grief Changes You

Grief…. grief sucks. There’s no getting around that. It is a part of life that everyone goes through at some point or another.

But, times of grief teach you what’s real. It can change you as a person. It can show you how strong you really are. It can give you new perspective. A lot of things, some even positive, can come out of the grieving process. Not that this compensates for grief in any way, shape or form, but during this team, you learn a lot of things, both about yourself and about others.

5 Ways Grief Teaches You What Really Matters In Life

1. You learn who is really there for you.

In any hard times, you learn who is really there for you and who really isn’t. This is especially true when it comes to grief. 

You see who in your life was just there for the good times, who is just there for fun, and who was just there because it was convenient. You also see who really cared for you and who didn’t. You may see that that person you were close to in college and drifted away from may reach out to you more than friends you spent the entire prior summer with.

You may see that colleagues are there for you more than some family members. You may find validation that someone who you have moved on from has been left in the past for the right reason. You may find comfort in some people who you may have no longer been close with.

All of this is okay — you need to be surrounded by those who care about you, show you that they really are there for you, and genuinely want to help get you through this.

2. You learn what your priorities really are.

You have been through a hard, life-altering event. You are in pain. You are sad. You are grieving. All of this shows you what really matters in life.

Little things you may have fret about in the past no longer matter to you.

You know what actually should be considered a big deal and what isn’t.

You learn who to spend your time with and who not to.

You learn what to spend your time on and what not to.

You learn when to put yourself first, if that is something you weren’t the best at in the past.

You learn what to focus on and what really makes you happy.

You learn who also to prioritize and who not to.

You learn that there is so much more to life than you originally realized.

Related: How To Deal With The Passing of a Loved One

3. You learn how strong you really are.

This hurts. It sucks. You want to cry. You want to fetal position. You want to scream. But… it didn’t break you. You are still here, surviving, living your life the best that you can. And that is so important to remember.

You are strong enough to get through this time of grief.

You are strong enough to continue on with the rest of your life — in a different way, yes, but still.

You learn what you can handle.

You learn what you can handle on your own and what you need to lean on others for.

You learn that you can withstand the pain of something this big, and that shows you that you can handle anything that may happen in the future. You learn to trust yourself more.

4. You learn to lean on others.

You cannot go through grief alone. It is not impossible, but it is lonely. You learn who to lean on and how to lean on them. You learn to ask for help. You learn how to let it all out and not keep it all bottled in. You learn how to ask for an ear to listen and you learn how not break down every time someone asks you how you are doing.

If you are lucky enough, you are surrounded by people who you do not even have to ask — they just know you need someone to talk with, someone to go to dinner with, someone to just be there for you to lean on. Asking for help isn’t always everyone’s strong suit, but it is a good thing to learn while grieving. Now is not the time to be alone, if you can help it.

Related: Grief Is…

5. You learn whether you’re in a good place in your life or not.

Right now is not a “good place” but you see whether your life is where you want it to be or not, otherwise. You see whether you are really working for a company that supports you and understands the hard time you are going through.

You see whether the relationship you are currently in is strong enough to handle this. You see whether your friendships you made are true friendships, there for you in thick or thin. You see whether you have other outlets of happiness you can focus on right now, and if you unfortunately do not, it shows you that a change needs to be made.

Grief can take you through many phases and oftentimes looks a way we weren’t expecting it to. It manifests different ways for everyone, but there are many lessons that we all learn as we go through the stages of grief. There’s not a right way to feel or not feel. Just know that you are not alone.

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.