If your loved one is hurting, it's natural to want to cheer him or her up. Maybe they are sobbing, and you feel helpless as to how to help them. Dr. Robin talks about the wisdom of the Jewish tradition, "sitting shiva," and why it's healthy for them to feel the pain.
"Sitting shiva" is a week-long period of mourning for the seven closest relatives: spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister. Family members and friends typically gather in a home and grieve the departed. Dr. Robin says we should embrace the wisdom of the practice, of being with someone in their grief or pain.
"So often when someone is faced with a hardship, we want them to feel better because we feel helpless," she says. "We want to bring them out of it and bring a smile back to their face because we are so terrified of our own sense of hopelessness and helplessness that in some ways we want to push people through their grief. … The part that we never focus on is the fact that on earth there is a loss, and 'shiva' makes room for the loss, it makes room for the pain, it makes room for your ache and for the hole that's in your heart."
Dr. Robin says you should not try to pull loved ones out of their grief prematurely just because you can't manage and handle their suffering. Instead, you should enter into that place of grief, to go into that hole, and grieve with them.
"We have to go into the very place that we don't want to go, the places that scare us," she says. "That is where healing begins."
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