Why it is time to stop saying “I’m sorry for your loss” and what we can say instead
“I’m sorry for your loss” is widely accepted as the common phrase people use to express their condolences.
But while it certainly seems like a well-meaning response to someone’s passing, it needs to be scrapped.
Here are the reasons why:
The grieving don’t need clichés
Grieving family members repeatedly hearing “I’m sorry for your loss” does nothing to alleviate their pain but instead only pushes it forth even further, providing no consolidation whatsoever. “I’m sorry for your loss” is the most common response to this kind of situation and that is why it instantly almost loses all its sincerity. We need to avoid such robotic responses because after all, the death of someone is more than a simple cliché.
It’s the wrong mental attitude
Some experts in grief care field are starting to recommend using the language of healing, suffering, and surmounting difficult challenges instead. By using such language you are naturally strengthening the notion that there might be an upside to grief. Such spiritual deepening can ease a person’s pain as they accept that we are all exposed to something that is an inescapable consequence of living and choosing to love each other. Death and grieving can once again become the processes of redemption they were always meant to be if we choose to shift to the language of healing and overcoming challenges.
What should we say instead of “I’m sorry for your loss”?
“You are in my thoughts.”
Making the person aware that you understand the emotional difficulty of their situation can help a grieving person feel less isolated in their own struggle and reminds them that you care enough to be thinking about him/her can help them greatly in feeling less alone in the world.
“I love you.”
If you two are close, reminding a grieving person that you love them can be truly strengthening. Grief can make people feel all alone, and by reminding them that you love them and are always there for them if they need you, you are essentially reminding them that they are not alone.
“I know it’s hard…”
This is a good way to start a conversation with a grieving person as it acknowledges their current circumstances.
“I would like to help in any way I can”
– is a highly supportive way to show a person that you’re willing to help them to process their pain.
Do you agree with this article?
Is it truly time we should stop saying “I’m sorry for your loss.”?
Let us know how you feel about this in the comment section below.