Grief and growth mindset could be a good pairing. I first became acquainted with the term ‘growth mindset’ while substitute teaching in a middle school guidance class. The concept of growth mindset was contrasted to a fixed mindset.
Here is a video of Carol Dweck who developed this guidance model. While it is geared toward education and children, I feel it could have general application to life and grief practices. Perhaps because my entire career was in teaching (art), I believe growth does not stop at the attainment of a graduation diploma. Nor do I feel that grief – even for one’s own child – must end one’s hope and satisfaction with life.
A fixed mindset avoids challenges and gives up easily. This leads to negative thinking. Dweck in her 2006 book, Mindset, proposes that changing our beliefs from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset can have profound effects.
Just this morning, I came across a friend’s term EGR, standing for Extra Grace Required. Her thoughts on EGR are in regards to dealing with others who are a challenge. What if we applied EGR to ourselves while we are grieving? Could we extend a bit of extra grace and tender loving care to ourselves during periods of grief?
Here are some strategies for choosing growth while one is grieving. A number of my posts are geared toward a concept of growth. When we are grieving, we all desire a sign from our dearly departed loved one. If this is one’s hope, we must focus and be aware of details. It could be a song on the radio, a random sighting of something significant connected to your loved one or an unusual occurrence. Here is one of my sign stories: My Mother’s Day Guest.
The arts are a prime way to ease and cope with our grief. Here is an art history journey to help comfort and ERASE GRIEF. Another arts example: BROKEN compares the Japanese art of Kintsugi, to feeling broken when grieving. Kintsugi involves rejoining the pieces of a broken pot with golden joinery and savoring the beauty of the journey. The golden joinery does not camouflage the damage, but honors it.
Sometimes sound therapy can be soothing to an aching heart. I have found it helps me. This post, Tuning into Healing: Grief, gives you the tools to do so, via a video.
Gratitude may not be the first practice one would think of while grieving. However, this post shows how it can be transformative: Gratitude for Hard Times.
Several posts deal with grief models, one of which is GRIEF RELIEF. Approaching Grief also includes how some other cultures work with grief. Wait Grief Weight addresses different grieving styles we may have due to personality and/or gender.
How Can Nature Help Grief and Growth?
Being in nature is a very healing place while grieving. Not only do many receive signs from loved ones while outdoors, but it is also simply a gorgeous place to relax and find peace. We can find lessons. (Sorry, yes, this teacher is always on the lookout for lessons!) During a nature hike, I contemplated what we could learn from water: THINK LIKE WATER. There are truly many amazing things that water can teach us. All of nature is an apt model for answers to what we may apply to our lives. Just look at flowers, for example.
For a flower to bloom it must push through the dirt!
Dealing with grief isn’t always easy, but if we work with it rather than against it, we can improve in order to live our best lives. I’m quite certain that our loved ones would want us to more fully demonstrate our love for them by continuing to live, to learn, to create our lives. Having a growth mindset can help our grief. In this way, we may honor them.