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Posts tagged ‘acceptance’

Grieving: Things Not to Say

When someone we know is grieving, we want to comfort them in some way. Many times, we choose to offer support verbally. When doing so, please remember these natural instincts that roll off the tongues of us all listed below – that are actually very damaging. These are things not to say:

*It’ll be okay.  — You do not know the outcome nor can you predict the future, so don’t use this common lie as a comforting measure.

*God needed them more than you. – Seriously? This is not appropriate in any case.

*If there’s anything I can do…you just let me know. – This is so generic, insincere, and can actually lead to anger & ill feelings toward you. Never ever say this unless you are seriously willing to help the mourning person for the rest of your life! If you say this, be prepared to say YES if you’re asked for transportation, monetary assistance, emotional support, letter writing, employment referrals, catalog orders, holiday gatherings, babysitting, random unexpected visits at your home, legal support, etc. If you make this forever promise, you are the lowest form of existence if you say NO when someone mourning calls on you for assistance for the rest of their lives. This is the most common thing that people will say when they attend a funeral service and 98% of the time, they do not mean it in the least.  No matter how much restraint it takes on your part, absolutely do not say this if children are present! I was fortunate enough not to need anyone’s help and I did not call on anyone for several months for anything after losing my husband. But all the random people who made this comment to my children made life difficult. In a child’s mind, they thought that all those random people really would come to their aid for ANYTHING ANYTIME and they developed a sense of abandonment afterwards. If nothing else from this post sticks in your mind, remember this one!  (My children may not be typical. They knew from experience that when I made this comment, I made a commitment that I upheld the rest of that person’s life. They learned from my example and did not understand the concept that other people only said this because they couldn’t think of anything else to say.)

*Another angel got their wings back. – When someone says this it sounds as though they do not have a loving & studied relationship with my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. It just sounds … weird.

*Time heals all wounds. – Even if this is true (which it is), this is not appropriate to say to someone within the first year of mourning or grieving.

*He was a good man – Unless you knew this to be true, do not say this.

*She was a good woman – Unless you knew this to be true, do not say this.

*I am sorry for your loss. – Why? Unless you killed them or made them sick, why are YOU sorry? Although, I will say that this statement is received much better than the previous “If there’s every anything I can do, you let me know”.

*God doesn’t give you more than you can bear. – Although this is true, it is not comforting to hear when mourning.

*Well…at least you’re young. – Yeah, that helps no one… ever 😦 How is that comforting to someone who is already upset about living a long life without their loved one they just lost?

*I know how you feel – Avoid this one at all cost unless you too have lost a relation in the exact same manner. No, just don’t say this at all.

*Try not to cry. He/she wouldn’t want you to. – Excuse my lingo, but that is plain ole’ bull poop. Do you hope that no one mourns you when you pass away? Of course not, we all hope that we are loved enough that we are missed when we pass away. So, why would you say that to anyone?

* Okay, enough time has passed to put this behind you and move on. – I’ve heard that said to my children many times and it honestly infuriated me. It caused more hurt than help.

*It’s time to grow up now and stop crying. – This too has been said to my children and it caused far more harm than anything else. They were just kids!! Kids cry no matter their sex and it was OKAY.

*Something great will come from this. – Only say this if you can take a right hook to the jaw without blinking or budging from your spot. You’ve been warned.

*Don’t cry. It’ll upset the kids/parents/siblings/others. – Again, this causes more harm than good as it places unfounded guilt on the survivor for mourning. Everyone mourns in their own way. Words are powerful during grieving, chose your wisely.

So with all of this, what do you say? Keep it simple and sincere. The less you say, the better you are. Here is a list of very appropriate things to comfort someone mourning or grieving:

  • I love you (This is the absolute best thing you can ever say. Love heals!)
  • Call me if you need to talk. (Be careful though, don’t say this unless you are prepared for the phone calls.)
  • I’ll pray for you.
  • I’m praying for you and your family.
  • God hasn’t left you. (This one can be tricky. If you say this, be ready for mixed emotions unless you know the person’s personal faith.)
  • It’s okay to cry.
  • It’s okay to scream.
  • It’s okay to be angry.
  • It’s okay to write down your thoughts.
  • He/she knew you loved them.
  • Are you okay? (Since this is a question, be prepared for no response or a lengthy period in which you just sit silently and listen without judging them.
  • Nothing/Silence (Sometimes the only thing a person needs is physical comfort – such as: a hug, holding a hand, sitting near them, or standing near them.)

Something people often forget to do:

  • Follow up – Many people will go on with their lives and forget about the mourning/grieving person after a week or two. If your memory is bad, make a reminder for yourself to check in on them a couple months after the event. This will mean much more than flowers at a funeral, empty comments at a graveside, or cards in the mail immediately following. All you have to do is not forget them in the first year. Simple 🙂

Southern Prospective – soap box time!

Recently, I’ve been engaged in conversations about the “north & south”.  I don’t like this subject, but will politely answer & comment. Well…it starts off politely anyway.  What makes these conversations intense is usually the opinions that are thrown into the mix. Very few people can carry on a conversation on the subject of differences of northern and southern people and produce only facts.

I’m from Tennessee – born & bred. I (like other people) am proud to be from the south. I would never say the south is the best, the end all-be all, or even the most preferred place to live, but it’s home. I love it here, even though I can’t breathe through my nose for the mass amounts of pollen and my car is constantly covered in a yellow film. Even though we have high taxes and very few people correctly pronounce most of the English language. I still love it!!

East TN has become a melting pot of people from all over. Many folks from the western and northern states have moved here as well as people from other countries.  I’d venture to guess that the population is half native and half  “visitors”. Many native folks here have never been too far from home and are not able to travel or are afraid to leave these mountains. I personally haven’t travelled much, but I’ve been out of the state a few times. I’ve been very blessed to have met, worked with, and made friends a great deal of folks from all over the world while right here in Knoxville.

So, back to the “north & south” conversations…I commonly hear that:

  • Southern people are backwards.           Hmm, I try to visualize this so I don’t take offense.

I can honestly reply that I’ve never seen a southerner with their head screwed on backwards. They usually walk in a forward moving motion and many have not only been successful in life, but have led this country as presidents, congressmen, and senators.

  • Southern people are close minded.        Really? …all southerners?? I am open to discovering why we are close minded. My rebuttal is that there are closed minded people everywhere, not just in the south. Some people here are incorrectly labeled as close minded because they are hesitant to repeat mistakes. What just happened there? Did I just present an open mind?
  • Southern people speak funny.           People from all over the world speak with different dialects and there are places where you will hear a very think southern draw. Southern draws vary also. The southern draw of a Texan will vary from a Tennessean, just as a Georgia draw will vary from a Carolina draw.  Don’t at make us special?
  • Southern people are uneducated.         This may be true with a passing generation of miners, farmers, and people that physically worked their fingers to the bone from youth through adulthood many years past, but school is not an option in the South. But somehow, we have several of the best schools in the country according to the president of the US. Besides, if we are so uneducated, why did you move your whole family here? You must be a bad parent if you truly thought that and enrolled your children in our schools!!
  • Southern people are racist/prejudice.        There are racist people everywhere, not just in the south. Not everyone in the south is a racist.  I’m not!! Racism is not just white against black or black against white. People are prejudice in all forms everywhere on this planet! People that claim to be above reproach on the subject, accepting all people are prejudice in some form. Okay…I’ll admit. I have one prejudice: People from Ohio driving their RV through TN, changing lanes on the main Interstates right on top of other drivers, without looking or signally burn me up! But that’s pretty much it 🙂 I don’t dislike people from Ohio and actually have Ohio on my bucket list. One day, I’m going there with MY RV and I dare any of them to say anything or blow their horns, hee hee…not!

Rich against Poor

Sinners against Saints

Poor against Rich

Saints against Sinners

Baptist against Methodist 

Methodist against Baptist

Women against Men

Men against Women

Believer against Believer

Geeks against Goth

Skaters against Nerds

White against Mexicans

Mexicans against Whites

Black against Whites

White against Black

 Republican against Democrats

Democrats against Republicans

Non Alcoholics against Alcoholics

Drug addicts against the World

Lower Management against Upper Management

Upper Management against Lower Management

Customer Service against the Customers

Customers against the Stock Clerks

People against Mosquitoes – They just want to suck your blood 😦

Northern drivers against Southern Roadways

Southern drivers against more than 5 lanes of traffic

There are so many prejudices that they cannot all be listed. People harbor prejudices against one another for countless reasons and because a prejudice is chalked up to “opinion” it’s acceptable in some circles to have those opinions. That doesn’t make it right though. Let’s move on now.

  • People from the South are Hillbillies.       Well, we do live in the mountains and hills. I don’t care anymore, call us hillbilly if it makes your life better 🙂
  • Southerners are stubborn.        Isn’t that true everywhere you go? Surely this does not only apply to southerners.
  • People in the South walk around shirtless and barefoot.         Try to walk on asphalt barefoot and tell me how your feet feel. Kind of hot huh? Now, take off your shoes and walk on grass. Nice and cool huh? If you don’t leave your yard, why do you need shoes? Men do work with their shirts off, but don’t men in warmer climates do this? I saw people at the beach that were barefoot and shirtless. I even saw women that were topless and barefoot!  A person must wear shirt and shoes when in public though 🙂
  • Southern men spit.        Northern men do too!
  • Southern women need to be rescued.          Really? You’ve watched waaaay too many daytime talk shows. There are women everywhere that dream of  being “rescued in life”, not just in the South. There are also a great deal of women everywhere, not just in the south, that are hard-working and  independent, raising their family! They wouldn’t dream of being rescued.
  • Southern people are rude.          This one blows me away, seriously.  Why do people come from all over to be in the heart of our “southern hospitality” if we are so rude? Why did people in the north and western states label us with “southern hospitality?” Why did they start saying that?  Who coined that phrase? 
  • Southern women lie.         I’m pretty sure women and men every where lie. Not all women lie. I am sorry that you have that opinion. It’s sad.
  • Southern men don’t take responsibility for their children, stick around to raise them, or pay child support.              I searched on-line and discovered the 9 states that have the largest percentages of deadbeat dads with the largest arrears are: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Out of these 9 states, only 2 of those are southern states. Click here for the case study analysis.
There are more statements about southern people I have heard lately.  I’ve not spoken to just one westerner or northerner.  Sadly, I have spoken to many. I don’t bring the subject up, but somehow, it always ends up being brought into a conversation.
My thoughts are: People will always judge others by their own standards. If their opinions are that low of others, their opinions of themselves must be pretty low also.  It’s sad 😦
No matter where you are from, have you had a short positive or negative experience you can share about people from the northern, western, or southern states? Personally, I have had wonderful experiences in every state I’ve ventured into 🙂 People have great hearts everywhere I’ve been and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people 🙂

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