Edy Nathan, MA, LCSWR, is a licensed therapist, AASECT certified sex therapist, hypnotherapist and certified EMDR practitioner with more than 20 years of experience. She has degrees from New York University and Fordham University, with post-graduate training at the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy. For two seasons in 2010, she was the psychotherapist on the A&E series “Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal.” Her new book is It’s Grief: The Dance of Self-Discovery Through Trauma and Loss.

Contact Edy at www.edynathan.com.

Tags: grief | trauma | coping | MeToo | MADD

The Gift of Grief

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Tuesday, 14 August 2018 04:21 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Hidden in the pain and darkness of grief are unexpected gifts. And often, they’re beyond anything you could imagine.

As loss and trauma surround us, touching our lives in unique ways, grief and mourning push us to recognize parts of ourselves that can only become visible through the veil of pain.

Once a person is engaged with grief, an unforeseen gift usually follows. How can any loss translate into a gift? The experience of grief shatters what was and allows for new possibilities that are potent and powerful.

The “gifts” can come in many forms. They might inspire you to make life-altering changes, or invite small shifts in how you interact with yourself and others.

Such gifts may be motivators to quit smoking, start a business, go back to school, or even volunteer. Those would be considered small shifts.

The greater gifts in grief are seen every day by the countless survivors who have lost loved ones, who have been caretakers, or who have struggled with physical or mental illness. While grief is unavoidable, so are the gifts that influence our behavior and life choices in unpredictable ways.

When you choose to step into the grief, rather than avoiding it, you gain clarity, learn about personal needs, and gain the ability to be present. That means there is a chance to override grief reactions that can keep you emotionally dormant. You do this by finding others who share your vision.

Universal grief pushes us to have a voice, to become change agents in times of strife.

The gifts of grief are easy to see in the way public figures have used losses and mourning to transform a public perspective or invigorate and motivate calls to action and change.

For example, activist Tarana Burke started the #MeToo movement as a response to her own sexual abuse survival. Women around the world became part of that collective voice based on the grief Burke experienced.

Likewise, when Candy Lightner lost her daughter to a drunk driver, she created the now famous organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). It is now the nation’s largest nonprofit, helping create more stringent laws regarding drunk driving, drugged driving, and underage drinking.

University of North Carolina, Charlotte, researchers Richard G. Tedeschi and Lawrence G. Calhoun created the term “post-traumatic growth,” which they define as “a positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event.”

I call it Grief Expansion, which is a result of a loss or trauma that causes people to expand beyond what or who they were prior to a loss or trauma. This type of expansion opens you up to new experiences and the evolution of a growing, internal sense of self. It can also give you a better appreciation of the little things in life.

When grief strikes, don’t close your eyes, because gifts will appear to create a new lens through which to see and live more fully in the world.

Edy Nathan’s new book is called It’s Grief: The Dance of Self-Discovery Through Trauma and Loss.

 

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Hidden in the pain and darkness of grief are unexpected gifts. And often, they’re beyond anything you could imagine.
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2018-21-14
Tuesday, 14 August 2018 04:21 PM
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