6 Affirmations For the Modern Griever (And How To Use Them)

Figuring out what to say to someone who is grieving can be complicated and uncomfortable for anyone… even funeral directors and funeral guests alike. 

So often, we settle for statements that are stereotypical, because quite frankly… we don’t know any better. 

And when we rattle off conditioned responses to people deep in their grief, it can come off as insincere at best and harmful at worst. 

Does this resonate with you? Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know what to say to someone experiencing grief? If you’ve been in these shoes before, what can you offer when condolences are due?

We’ve taken 6 typical responses to grief, and transformed them into affirmations that you can not only offer to grieving families, but also to those supporting them:

Old Affirmation: “They’re in a better place” 

New Affirmation: “The pain of loss you’re experiencing is real and valid.”

“Sorrow is one of the vibrations that prove the fact of living.”

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It’s our first impulse as humans to try and make others feel better when there is sadness. However, this often only causes more pain since a “bright side” attitude can come off as “It’s not ok to feel the way you’re feeling.” 

One of the most radically healing things we can do is to simply let pain exist. Witnessing what someone is experiencing, AND acknowledging that their suffering is a reality in their life right now offers so much more comfort than seemingly soothing jargon. 

Sadness bonds us together in a potent way. In order to foster this bond, we must let others experience their grief and be vulnerable enough to witness it. 

 

 

Old Affirmation: “At least they…”

New Affirmation: “When you are ready to talk, there is an open heart ready to listen”

This one is more of a practice than a traditional affirmation. It’s a reminder that the act of simply listening without trying to fix a problem or make things seem better is one of the most powerful things we can offer someone experiencing grief. 

When we start saying, “At least they went on their own terms,” or “At least their suffering is over,” what we’re really doing is trying to make ourselves feel better (truth moment!). This is actually centering around our own comfort, rather than allowing another to mourn. 

Here’s a practice to try, called reflective listening – this means gently repeating back what you heard someone say so they understand you are actively engaging. This also helps them process what they’re experiencing and feel validated. The most important aspect is to remain present and let the mourning individual say what they need to say rather than assuming what they need to hear. 

 

 

Old Affirmation: “Everything happens for a reason” 

New Affirmation: “Nothing has to make sense right now, you have time to process what is happening”

“When someone is navigating grief… we must resist the need to try and fix the problem… during these sacred times, silence is our ally.”

— Jada Swanson

There can be a rush to have solutions and find meaning in times of death and profound loss. To those who are navigating this chaotic time, it isn’t always comforting to hear that their pain is “for a reason.” 

Right now, they need to know that they have time to slow down and go through their own unique grief process on their own terms. There doesn’t need to be answers or reasons. There just needs to be the reassurance that whatever they’re feeling is valid, and they have the time and space needed to move through it however is best for them. 

 

 

Old Affirmation: “You need to be strong right now” 

New Affirmation: “You do not need to be any certain way for people to love and support you”

Art by Hana Shafi @frizzkidart

Grief is incredibly isolating. Not only is the bereaved person processing the loss they’ve just experienced, but they are also dealing with the fear of losing touch with their community and inner circle because it may be harder to show up the way they used to. 

In these moments, those in mourning need to hear that they do not need to perform their emotions to be worthy of affection. They want to know that you will show up for them on the good days… and, the rough ones too. They want to know that they can approach you in their genuine state of being, and still find comfort,  community, and support. 

 

 

Old Affirmation: “I know how you’re feeling” 

New Affirmation: “I can’t possibly know how you are feeling, instead I can hold space for you and listen”

You walk along with them without judgment, sharing their journey to an unknown destination. You’re completely willing to end up wherever they need to go. You give your heart, let go of control, and offer unconditional support.” 

— Lynn Hauka, “The Sweetness of Holding Space for Another”

Every person must go through their own process with grief. Even if you have gone through something similar to the person you are offering comfort, it’s important to remember that their lived experience will always be different than yours. 

Rather than assuming you know what they’re thinking and feeling, offer them the space to tell you what is happening for them. This is where you practice reflective listening, empathy and quiet compassion. You let go of assumptions and show up to the present moment with an open heart.

 

 

Old Affirmation: “Time heals all wounds, just keep moving forward” 

New Affirmation: “Healing is a spiral – you will encounter the same wounds many times, but with new perspective each passing. Your process is your own, and it is beautiful.”

Art by Hana Shafi @frizzkidart

It’s common to think that the healing process is a straight line from start to finish. And, that once we’ve gone through one phase of grieving, we move on to the next… only to never look back. This couldn’t be any farther from the truth. 

Healing is more like climbing a mountain – cutting zig zag paths, back and forth over familiar terrain, each time gaining new perspective and insights from the last time you moved through this pattern, emotion, or experience. 

It is so powerful for the bereaved to hear that they can take their time in the process of healing rather than rushing through it.  They are allowed to move in all the directions they need to heal, not just plod forward and hope for change. This invites them to engage in the process with lots of compassion for themselves. And, it gives you an opportunity to see them as an individual with unique needs and experiences. 

 

How to use these affirmations

There are many ways to use affirmations! Typically, they are meant to be said to oneself when needed, but we’ve thought of some other ways for you to use them, especially as a funeral director:

  1. Offer them verbally to those who have experienced a loss while you support them as a funeral director. 
  2. Create a pamphlet with the affirmations to hand out to funeral guests to help them know what to say and how to navigate grief.
  3. Send a card to the bereaved after the funeral with an affirmation and a personal note.
  4. Create affirmation cards with a beautiful design to give to grieving families. They can put it somewhere meaningful and look at the comforting words often.
  5. Post the affirmations, quotes, and images on social media to engage with families. 
  6. Put out an “Affirmation Jar” with all of them written on slips of paper for guests to take as needed.

 

One last way to offer affirmations to the modern griever…

With f1Connect’s 365 days of daily affirmation emails, a powerful offering included with every funeral business who uses our f1Connect all-in-one website platform. If you’re interested in adopting the funeral profession’s most powerful website platform at your funeral home to support families after the loss, click here or give us a call at 1-800-798-2575 to talk to one of our Website Success Specialists today!

 

Have you developed some modern affirmations of your own? How would you use affirmations in your practice? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments.