March 28th marks five years since my father died. In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions podcast, I share recent insights I’ve gained from exploring my quiet grief, including why we don’t have to be people pleasers about our grief and how some people will expect that of us.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Android

5 key topics in this episode

  • We expect grief to be linear, and we want to tie up our feelings in a neat bow. This mentality creates this self-deception where we decide that we’re ‘done’, that we’re all grieved out. It’s as if we think we’ve felt and thought everything we need to about that thing. And then grief strikes again because it was never ‘gone’.
  • We grieve something or someone from different angles. When we experience grief in ways and at times we think we shouldn’t, it’s an invitation to grieve more deeply.
  • The wounds of abandonment are very real, and we can also live our lives in ways that makes us feel safe and secure. We can be safe people for ourselves. If we keep people pleasing and deny our feelings, this is self-abandonment.
  • Our grief is ours, and we don’t have to people-please at grief. Sometimes people expect performative grief in the aftermath of a bereavement. They want you to be visibly upset. And often, people expect performative strength and ok-ness once they’ve decided that we should be ‘done’ with outward displays of our pain.
  • Part of grieving is cycling through arriving at a more truthful place. We don’t need to keep telling ourselves that something happened because we are or were “unworthy”. The act of getting our stories, our feelings, out of our system through the likes of journaling, including unsent letters, helps us to let go and gain perspective. Our willingness to be even a little more honest invites healing into our lives.

Subscribe and/or leave a review on Apple Podcasts (how-to guide here). It really helps in growing the show! If you’re new to podcastsfind out more about what they are and how to subscribe with this handy guide.

The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon/HarperCollins) is out now and available in bookshops on and offline. Listen to the first chapter.
FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites