Being vulnerable is terrifying. Especially when you’re grieving the loss of someone precious, like a family member or beloved pet.
You’re allowing someone to see you in a moment when you’re shaken to your core and not sure how to find your footing. You’re trusting them to help you find your strength and pick up the pieces.
That takes bravery.
But if you’re not sure where to turn, it can be difficult to take that step, even if you want to take it. Here’s how to reach out for help when you’re grieving.
Know Where to Turn
As the old saying goes, there’s strength in numbers.
Humans are fundamentally social creatures. We have always relied on groups to process our emotions through trying times and find strength when it seems like we have none.
If you need somewhere to turn, think about who in your life has always been there for you, through thick and thin. Think about who is always there to provide care and non-judgmental listening.
For many people, this is family, but that isn’t always the case, either because of complicated family relationships or because your family members aren’t the kind of support you need right now. In that case, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends.
Talk to a Religious Leader
Sometimes, though, reaching out to people you know can be too much to think about. Maybe you don’t want to burden your loved ones, or maybe you’re not comfortable expressing your grief to them for whatever reason.
Maybe it just feels easier to talk to someone who’s entirely removed from the situation. There’s nothing wrong with that.
In those instances, it may be beneficial to seek spiritual guidance from your pastor or religious leader. They know you and are willing to lend a kind ear, but they can also be relied upon to keep your confidence.
Also, unlike family, they don’t have a direct stake in this situation. Their only concern is guiding you through a painful time.
Find a Good Counselor or Therapist
There are also instances where family support and spiritual guidance may not be enough. Know that there’s nothing wrong with that.
In fact, it can often be beneficial to speak to someone who’s trained in handling complex emotional situations, someone trained to help you process things in a healthy way.
Plus, it’s reassuring to know that a therapist is bound by professional and legal obligation to maintain confidentiality. It’s not about keeping secrets–it’s about giving yourself a protected space to let your guard down and be vulnerable in a way that feels safe to you.
Finding a good therapist (more importantly, the right therapist) is a lot like dating. It requires a bit of trial and error. Start by thinking about what kind of professional you need and what you’re seeking from therapy. Then, look for chemistry.
It sounds cheesy, but it matters. You won’t be able to open up to a therapist if you don’t feel comfortable talking to them. And if you’re unwilling to delve into your problems honestly or at any depth, you’re wasting your own time and money.
Reaching Out for Help is a Sign of Strength
Know that reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite, in fact. Asking for help in a time of suffering takes a lot of strength and trust.
You have to show your vulnerability to others and allow them to help you. That’s a scary thing. But it’s also a brave thing–and it’s a necessary part of the healing process.
Whether you’re ministering to someone through grief or speaking to a minister yourself, everyone needs support sometimes. And support is there for you. All you have to do is ask.