MARCH 2 — The experience of grief is shared by all people, regardless of their culture, religion, age, or circumstances. It is something that every single person goes through, either directly or indirectly.

A person experiences it when they lose something important in their lives, such as a loved one, a career, a relationship, or any other form of hardship. In our society, there is often pressure to “restart” from grief quickly and return to normality as soon as possible.

The stigma that is often presented is the issue of negative thoughts, mental illness, or depression. However, the journey of grief is not an easy route and acceptance is an important component of healing for an individual.

Grief is a complex and multifaceted experience, which includes various emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, and even helplessness.

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Individuals may experience grief in different ways and at different times. It is important to recognise that sadness is a natural response to an adverse event, and that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

For example, when we see news of accidents, deaths, failures in work or life, we might feel sad for the people involved. Grief happens beyond the expectations of a person who may not be prepared for adversity that cannot be determined to occur. There are no guidelines on how to prepare for grief and the length of time needed to deal with it.

Although each stage of grief is important, acceptance is often seen as the culmination of a grief process. Accepting does not mean forgetting the person who has left.

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Instead, it involves integrating the loss into one’s life story and finding ways to restore morale, even if it is painful and difficult. Acceptance allows individuals to respect the memory of their loved one while also embracing the possibilities of the future.

It takes a long time for an individual to accept an adversity. Acceptance may not happen overnight, in a year, or even three years.

It would probably involve many years. It is a gradual process that requires patience, self-compassion, and support. A practical strategy for building a level of acceptance is to allow yourself to feel and express emotions openly.

This process may involve writing a journal, talking to a trusted friend or therapist, engaging in creative media, or any way that suits you best.

Seeking support from a loved one, support group, or therapist can provide invaluable assistance to acceptance. Connecting with others who have experienced the same type of grief can offer a sense of empathy, and a practical strategy for acceptance.

Finding ways to honour the memory of the person who has left us can be an important part of the acceptance process. This process may involve the creation of rituals or traditions that honour their lives. It can also involve finding meaning in the loss and channelling it to a positive action or relationship with another person.

It is important to recognise that acceptance is not an easy process. It may take years, and failure is a natural part of the journey to overcoming grief.

The writer says it is important to recognise that sadness is a natural response to an adverse event, and that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  — iStock pic
The writer says it is important to recognise that sadness is a natural response to an adverse event, and that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  — iStock pic

There are moments when grief feels extreme or when an old wound is unexpectedly reopened. During this time, it is important to practice self-compassion and patience with oneself.

Seeking support from others and engaging in personal care activities can help navigate these challenging moments and progress towards acceptance.

Grief is a different journey for each individual, but acceptance is the same destination, i.e., the search for wisdom and self-strength. By appreciating the level of grief and finding acceptance in the midst of loss, individuals can respect the memory of their loved one while also building future possibilities. It is good to grieve, to feel pain, and to seek support from others.

In the end, acceptance allows us to find solace in the midst of pain and remember our loved one or any negative event on our journey through life and be better prepared for all future tests.

* Azleen Ilias is a senior lecturer at the Department of Accountancy and Finance, UNITEN Business School (UBS), Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN). She may be reached at [email protected]

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.