Grieving and Social Media: Does Posting About Your Anguish Hurt or Help?
Grief is a relatively unavoidable part of the human condition. If you live long enough, you will lose people you love. The state of mourning described as grief can be profound and life-altering.
There is a whole psychology of grief that has been studied for decades. You may be familiar with the stages of grief,which could more aptly be considered the stages of dying. Even medical experts have weighed in on complications of grief, which can impact you in numerous ways, such as heart health, insomnia, and severe depression.
It's a serious and important topic, and every generation has to deal with grief during their time on this planet.
While the grieving process isn't new, social media has only become an intricate part of everyday life in the last decade or so. This newer communication method has become a fairly integral part of the grieving process for many, because so much of their lives are shared and documented through social media networks.
As with anything, there are some positive and negative aspects involved in social media sharing. Because grief is such a heightened and powerful emotion, both the positive and negative aspects can be received in an intensified way.
Sharing Grief Through Social Media
Social media gives you a platform to speak from. It allows you to connect with other people you know and even strangers across the world. The connections you make through social media can be exceptionally close, even if you're not seeing each other in person.
For many people, social media offers a support system of friends to talk to, interact with, and share intellectual musings. If you're grieving and you have a strong network on social media, this becomes an excellent outlet to allow you to talk about your grief, honor your loved one, and have supportive friends to console you. All of this can be a healthy way to process grief.
Social media gives you a way to honor friends and relatives who have passed on. Creating a post with pictures and loving words offers a creative outlet for your thoughts. It gives you an audience who can read about your loved one and share in your memories. It allows mutual friends to share their own grief, building a loving way to remember the person who passed and support each other.
Social media also allows you to share news, such as the dates of memorial services and any types of honorary events or charity drives that involve the person who passed. Overall, these aspects of social media allow you to process your grief in a positive and supportive way.
Negative Aspects of Social Sharing
Social media is often mentioned with negative connotations. Most of the downside of social media has very little to do with the technology — it's the way it's being used.
Some people use social media in a less than healthy way where grief is concerned. Such as:
- A Play for Attention. Some people use social media in an overly attention seeking way. This can have a negative impact for those who are truly grieving because it's difficult to see others use the death of a loved one in a play for attention.
- Differing Perspectives. A single person can be many things to many people. The image your parents hold of you is often completely separate from the way friends and lovers would describe you. When these different loved ones post remembrances, it can be jarring to other close mourners.
- Constant Reminders. For someone working through the grieving process, being reminded of the person on social media can make the process harder to process. This might include seeing posts about the person or even purposely paging back through their loved one's profiles repeatedly.
A Documentation of Life — Deceased Profiles and Memorials
One interesting thing that social media has given us is documentation of our lives, in our own words. Our social media profiles are full of our own thoughts, blog posts, pictures, things we found enjoyable or interesting. It's almost like an open diary that we can leave behind and our loved ones can look through it and hear our voice again.
It may be difficult and emotional to page through a loved one's social media account while the grief is still very fresh. Over time, though, these moments, posts, videos, and pictures can become cherished ways to bring their voice and memory back to you.
Previous Blog Posts for Pierce Mortuary Colleges / BLOG Home
- The Growing Need for Proficiency in Green Funeral Services
- Grieving and Social Media: Does Posting About Your Anguish Hurt or Help?
- Time Management Skills for Online Degrees
- Day in the Life