When you are faced with only a series of traumas and losses you will instinctively learn how to navigate through the storms since all you’ve seen is pain. And for those who know, it is never an easy process. Hearing the phrase “trust the process” seems so nonchalant when one has not faced some extremely painful realities that will make them truly want to trust in the process. For instance, how about simulating your thoughts, body and emotions into a young war survivor who traveled the dangerous terrains to keep his only surviving brother safe after having to see his father decapitated alive before him on his birthday? And days after, watching his mother take a bullet for his brother and him.

Now let’s present this adolescent with an encouraging phrase such as “Don’t worry everything’s going to be alright, trust the process”. With utmost certainty, these words would mean nothing but air to him. Being compassionate about someone`s pain takes a level of pure, authentic care. And a deep desire to put one’s self into the other’s shoes—also known as empathy. In a world that's digitalised and technologically advanced, compassion and empathy are qualities headed toward extinction. Calamities and loss are just growing realities. And grieving will be another emotion we will be very much acquainted with. Therefore we need to understand how can we grieve without losing ourselves in the process while not having to reconstruct from zero when we get out of this process.

The oppression of troubles can be daunting. To be compassionate and empathetic to our neighbours we need to first be compassionate to ourselves. The ability to feel someone else’s pain starts with sincerely feeling ours. Everything outward always begins inward. Here are three solid ways one can withstand the challenges of the grieving process.

Acceptance that death is part of the circle of life

Death is an inevitable part of this circle of life we live in. We are birthed, we live and we die. The timeline to these occurrences may vary from one individual to the other. We have to come to a point of acceptance, just as we accept the birth of a baby, the graduation of our children, the achievements of our loved ones, the ups and downs of living, we also then have to accept —death. The only aspect to death that is difficult to digest is the reality that all that was breathing has now ended, with no hope to hear, feel, see or smell this once living being yet again. It is in this hopelessness that many remain lost. And the inability to accept this hopeless feeling is a distant thought. But at this juncture, we have to accept that what came has now gone. The essence of acceptance lies in the fact that we had the absolute pleasure of knowing this being that has touched our lives, intimately for that moment, be it brief or long. Since life’s journey can be seen as a bus ride, with people getting up the bus and then leaving at some point because they must, we have not much of a choice but to accept. In this bus ride we can’t stop those that must leave, we are only able to bid them farewell and wish them all the best in their coming journey and wherefrom we continue our personal journey with the memories we have experienced together. We do not have to do this with a cold shoulder, with time we can do this with the warmth of life.

Name the pain

Although it is always easier said than done, we all know that even after accepting this harsh reality that our loved one is no longer here and then being avalanched with many thoughts—we eventually succumb to the pain that is unexplainable. We find ourselves weeping uncontrollably, spinning in our emotions like a helicopter without any control ready for another crash. The only way we can stay in control is to know that we cannot control that which is beyond us. But we can control how we respond to it. And always remember to choose responding and not reacting. When you’ve taken control of this response, now you can name the pain. To name the pain, you need to ask yourself what does the pain stem from? Is it the manner in how he or she passed on, was it the fact that you never got to say a decent goodbye, is it something you wish to be forgiven for to forgive and etc. These are questions you need to ask yourself thoroughly. The process of naming the pain allows you to face the reality closer and directly acceptance then becomes slightly easier.

Don’t be too hard with yourself

Last but not the least, don’t be too hard with yourself. Grieving is important and we can’t avoid it. Stop being driven into this toxic positivity mindset that the secular world has created strongly for us. This makes put a smile on our face when we do not have the capability to at that moment. For that brief time, grief and grief hard. So hard that when you get out of it, you understand that phase very well and you would have grown into greater heights.