All those years I fell for the great palace lie that grief should be gotten over as quickly as possible and as privately. But, what I've discovered is that the lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren, isolated place, and that only grieving can heal grief. The passage of time will lessen the acuteness, but time alone, without the direct experience of grief, will not heal it.
Grief causes you to leave yourself. You step outside your narrow little pelt. And you can't feel grief unless you've had love before it - grief is the final outcome of love, because it's love lost. [... ] It's the cycle of love completed: to love, to lose, to feel grief, to leave, and then to love again. Grief is the awareness that you will have to be alone, and there is nothing beyond that because being alone is the ultimate final destiny of each individual living creature. That's what death is, the great loneliness.
One of the difficulties with grief research is that it risks making certain kinds of grief seem normal and others abnormal - and of course having a sense of the contours of grief is, I think, truly useful, one has to remember it's not a science, it's an individual reckoning, which science is just trying to help us describe.
I wasn't good enough for abnegation," I say, "and I wanted to be free. So I chose Dauntless." "Why weren't you good enough?" "Because I was selfish." I say. "You were selfish? You aren't anymore?" "Of course I am. My mother said that everyone is selfish," I say, "but I became less selfish in Dauntless. I discovered there were people I would fight for. Die for, even.
It is important that when pursing our own self-interest we should be 'wise selfish' and not 'foolish selfish'. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Being wise selfish means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means being compassionate.
Whether we experience it or not, grief accompanies all the major changes in our lives. When we realize that we have grieved before and recovered, we see that we may recover this time as well. It is more natural to recover than to halt in the tracks of grief forever. Our expectations, willingness and beliefs are all essential to our recovery from grief. It is right to expect to recover, no matter how great the loss. Recovery is the normal way .
You can not die of grief, though it feels as if you can. A heart does not actually break, though sometimes your chest aches as if it is breaking. Grief dims with time. It is the way of things. There comes a day when you smile again, and you feel like a traitor. How dare I feel happy. How dare I be glad in a world where my father is no more. And then you cry fresh tears, because you do not miss him as much as you once did, and giving up your grief is another kind of death.
New grief, when it came, you could feel filling the air. It took up all the room there was. The place itself, the whole place, became a reminder of the absence of the hurt or the dead or the missing one. I don't believe that grief passes away. It has its time and place forever. More time is added to it; it becomes a story within a story. But grief and griever alike endure.
The dictionary describes a selfish person as one who is 'concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking pleasure or well-being without regard for others.' May we add, a selfish person is often one who refers to 'I,' 'me,' and 'mine' rather than to 'we,' 'ours,' 'yours,' or 'theirs.' This person is anxious to be in the limelight, to be on center stage in life's little dramas. He or she may be a poor listener, or a conversation monopolizer. Selfishness is the great unknown sin. No selfish person ever thought himself to be selfish.
<< previousnext >>