Grief Care


Heart vs. Smart

by Russell Friedman & John W. James of The Grief Recovery Institute Grief .Net

Throughout this series of articles we make constant reference to the fact that understanding does not equal completion, that knowledge or intellectual awareness does not create resolution of the emotional incompleteness caused by loss. An incredible amount of our time is consumed in undoing the damage done by mixing intellect and emotions.

Emotions are emotional and intellect is intellectual. When we learn to let that truth be true, we increase the probability of completing the pain caused by loss. We all know people who understand exactly what happened to them and how it happened and why it happened and who did it to them. Many of those people are in constant pain, still incomplete with the losses represented by those events and those people.

It is, by far, the most stubborn belief to shake, that if I can just understand I will be free, that I will be able to make new choices. Yet understanding is only awareness, it is not completion. Most of us were socialized to look for answers in our intellect and for most problems the intellect does contain the solutions. Emotional incompleteness is not resolved in the intellect.

When the physical aspect of a relationship ends through death, we are usually left with some unfinished business of an emotional nature. In order to effectively complete and say goodbye to the physical, we must first identify and complete whatever is emotionally incomplete. The net result is an acknowledgment of the reality that the physical relationship we had is over and that we now have a changed emotional relationship. Our emotional relationship does not end with death, but it must be brought current as we move into the new reality of life without the person who died.

Divorce, almost automatically, produces tremendous emotional incompleteness. Divorce differs from death to the degree that the physical relationship usually changes, rather than ending entirely. It is important to recognize that divorce is the death of a relationship, as well as the death of the hopes, dreams, and expectations implicit in marriage.

While death and divorce are different, completing the pain caused by either of those losses requires the same emotional skills. The process is identical. You must discover what is emotionally unfinished and finish it, so you can say goodbye to the physical relationship that has ended or changed. Knowing that you are incomplete, and even knowing what is incomplete is not enough. You must follow a clearly defined set of actions to help you grieve and complete the pain caused by all significant emotional losses.

Grief is the normal and natural and PAINFUL emotional reaction to loss. Grief is supposed to be painful and it is supposed to be emotional. One of the natural functions of grief is to alert you to any emotional incompleteness left when a relationship changes or ends. The Grief Recovery Handbook contains the clearly defined actions will help you discover and complete the undelivered emotional communications that may be limiting or restricting your life. How often have you or someone you know been caught in that intellectual trap where you know but you don't change? The most difficult aspect of this process is undoing the obsolete idea that knowledge and analysis equal recovery. Knowledge and analysis equal knowledge and analysis, nothing more. Grief Recovery® is a series of actions that lead to completion.

© 2002 Russell P. Friedman, John W. James and The Grief Recovery Institute.

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