Unrecognized Grief

Unrecognized Grief: its impact on our life and the solution for it

By Birgitte Tan

In the video interview (shared below) with Sara Jane from Gift of Healing TV, Dr. Birgitte Tan explains that grief is not just something that we experience when faced with “The Three D’s: Death, Divorce, and Dire Diagnosis.” Grief is actually defined by the Grief Recovery Institute® as “The conflicting feelings caused by a change in a familiar routine.”

Based on this broader definition, we begin to understand that grief can come from all sorts of different events in our lives—not all of which are “supposed” to be sad. For example, big life events such as marriage or retirement can cause surprising amounts of grief, especially since they often include a relocation or a drastic change in daily routine—even, perhaps, feelings of lost self-identity. When this grief remains unrecognized or unaddressed, it festers into feelings of resentment, emptiness, anger, anxiety, or sadness.

Another source of grief might be what Dr. Tan calls “hopes unmet,” meaning that the outcome of a situation does not match our expectation of how it “should have” turned out. For example, if you’ve worked especially hard for a job promotion, but someone else ends up getting the position instead, then you might be grieving the loss of the desired job position. This type of unaddressed grief could cause a multitude of different responses, depending on the person and the situation. “Decreased productivity due to unrecognized grief ends up costing the U.S. workforce $75 billion yearly,” explains Dr. Tan. “It also affects relationships within the workplace.”

Dr. Tan explains that grief is as unique to each individual person as our fingerprints: no two grieving processes are alike. Additionally, we experience grief, we experience it both in our mind and in our very being, in our very cells. Often, we suppress our grief rather than acknowledge and honor our feelings. This unaddressed grief manifests itself in so many ways, including anger, sleeplessness, changes in appetite, strain on personal relationships, and it even affects our decision-making processes and the way we respond to stress in our current lives. But Dr. Tan offers us some hope as well as a unique solution.

Since there is a part of grief that words cannot touch, we must address it accordingly. Dr. Tan discovered that freestyle dancing is a good tool for addressing the part of grief that eludes words.  This prompted her to found “Dance Away Sadness: Move Beyond Your Grief,” which allows its participants to literally change their vibrations through dance. In this way, they are able to address and acknowledge their grief—even their deep-rooted grief—and move past it into a future of hope, gratitude, and joy.

“Regardless of the tools, at the end of the day, recovery is our decision,” says Dr. Tan. “Our history does not determine our destiny.” You can learn more about the grief recovery process and all of Dr. Tan’s methods and advice, including her new book Seeking Peace, at http://fromgrievingtojoyfulliving.com

Dr. Birgitte Tan is the founder of “From Grieving to Joyful Living Coaching Service” and the creator of “Dance Away Sadness: Move Beyond Your Grief” grief support system. 

Through her work as an oncologist and while going through a multitude of grief herself in 2011, she noticed that there is a part of grief that words cannot touch.

In 2014, upon successfully transforming her formerly miserable, broke, heart-broken and ill-health life into a joyful life of peace of mind, abundance, love and great health. She also greatly benefited from freestyle dancing and founded “Dance Away Sadness: Move Beyond Your Grief”. Birgitte became a certified Grief Recovery Specialist & LifeMastery Coach to be able to help people beyond the wall of her hospital to fully recover from their grief and thrive.

Copyright © Birgitte Tan 2019

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