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Self and Other Compassion

People who have integrated their losses often describe that self-compassion has been described as part of their integration of grief. Self-compassion is about the ability to have an openness towards one’s own pain and difficulties. Research has supported the idea that self-compassion is associated with the resolution of grief symptoms. Part of the Transcending Model of Grief and Loss invites people to reduce their shame about their process of grief and grow more acceptance in themselves. Everyone has a different grief process, and it does not help a grieving person to judge “how well” they are grieving, or if they are “doing it right”. Instead of judging self, we invite people to accept themselves and give themselves compassion for their personal process. Instead of expecting a certain feeling or reaction or holding themselves to a perfect standard, people who are grieving should know that there is no perfect standard. There is no one framework that outlines how they “should” grieve. Grief comes in waves which means our individual capacities can vary day to day. People who have come to recognize their process of grief know that when the waves come, this does not mean that they are a failure, but that they are still in process. Grief does not have a destination, but rather involves developing a process for understanding, processing, and continuing through the ongoing loss. So we encourage everyone to use kindness for themselves as this is more helpful in processing grief than judging themselves.

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