Understanding Instead of Fixing: Mourning with Those That Mourn

When others are sad, we want to take their sorrow away. But we need to try to understand their feelings rather than try to fix them. 

Photo by Annie Spratt

When other people feel sad, our instincts tell us that we need to somehow make them happy again. Our society views sadness as a disease that can be cured only through cheering up. We often see sorrow as a sign of weakness, so, naturally, we want our loved ones to get over it and feel happy again. However, that is not the best way to comfort those who are grieving.

This concept is explained in Brooke Facer’s Deseret News article “‘Sorrow and peace, they can coexist’: A message from the mother of an angel at BYU Women’s Conference.” In Facer’s article, BYU Women’s Conference speaker Stephanie Hawkes describes the unbearable pain of giving birth to a child who did not breathe when she was born. Her daughter’s death brought immense sorrow, which Hawkes says was appropriate since sorrow happens after you lose someone very important. However, her friends and family responded to her sorrow by trying to cheer her up.

“To negate my sorrows is to say that my dreams and the things that are important to me, don’t matter,” said Hawkes. “Allowing myself to feel sorrow opens my heart, brings me to the depths of humility and makes me receptive to the Spirit of God.”

Hawkes highlighted Mosiah 18:9, which instructs us to “mourn with those that mourn” and not to cheer up those who mourn. The best way to comfort those who are grieving is to be sensitive to their needs. We can be empathetic by trying to understand their pain instead of trying to heal it. When we are caring and kind to those who are grieving, we are expressing Christlike love through our actions. When we mourn with those who mourn, we grow closer to our friends and family who are experiencing grief, and ultimately we grow closer to Christ.

To learn more about mourning with those that mourn, read Brooke Facer’s full article “‘Sorrow and peace, they can coexist’: A message from the mother of an angel at BYU Women’s Conference.”

Source: Deseret News

—Mariana Chrisney, Mormon Insights

feature image by ben white

Find more insights

Read “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” by Elder David A. Bednar.

Read “The Atonement: All for All,” a general conference address by Elder Bruce C. Hafen about the magnificence of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Read or watch “Broken Things to Mend” by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland to learn more about how Jesus Christ can heal us.

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