We’ve seen plenty of posts on Facebook this week with stories of people feeling lonely, worried, sad, and even grieving. When you scroll through the comments to those posts, a common response has been ‘Be Strong.’ ‘Be strong’ is often a standard response given to grievers. In this moment in time, we have already identified that we’re all grievers, grieving our normal lives, or perhaps already grieving the loss of a loved one. 
 
The trouble is, other people aren’t always equipped to help us deal with loss and they don’t really know what to say. 
When people tell you to be strong

What to say instead of "Be Strong" 

When you’re told to be strong, it’s usually because people think they are helping you, or because they don’t know how to handle your feelings. It might be that they think that by telling you to be strong, you’ll be able to get over your loss and be the one to hold your family together. You can then be there to mop up the tears of others, while shielding your own tears and fears from say, your children. And they feel better because they feel like that given you some useful advice that they have learned as a response to grief. They’re doing something. 
 
If you’re the one telling people to be strong, consider offering a friendly ear instead. Tell people that what they’re feeling is perfectly normal. They don’t need to be strong. Offer them the opportunity to talk to you while you just listen. 

You do not need to be strong 

If you’re the one being told to be strong, you do not need to be strong. Feel the emotions you are feeling. If you feel like crying, then cry. If you feel better writing things down, write them down. Even better, if you can find someone to talk to without fear of judgement, then tell them how you’re really feeling. 
 
Remember, if someone gives you a standard response to grief, hear the intent, not the content. They are showing they care in the way they have learned how. 

Have you seen our Top 5 tips for living through lockdown? 

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What to say instead of be strong
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