Grief in a Culture of Positivism

positivsmGrieving people are often concerned that their feelings of loss are “negative.” I believe this concern comes from living in a culture that defines positivity as the goal for all life circumstances.

How then do we think about grief in this culture that extols positivism? If a positive person feels happy, upbeat and cheerful, is a grieving person who is sad, distraught and tearful a negative person?

The answer is no. There is no useful purpose in identifying feelings as positive or negative when describing grief.

The experience of suffering that comes from a loss occurs because an attachment in this life has been broken by death. The feelings of grief are expressions of love, not negativity.

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Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. For 35 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice. Dr. O'Malley has recently published a book, "Getting Grief Right" about grief recovery.

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