It's OK That You're Not OK Book Summary - It's OK That You're Not OK Book explained in key points
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It's OK That You're Not OK summary

Megan Devine

Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand

4.3 (220 ratings)
21 mins
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    It's OK That You're Not OK
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    Accept that grief is a natural response to great loss.

    If you’ve ever experienced permanent loss firsthand, you know that platitudes and advice don’t work. It doesn’t matter if good intentions are behind them. They can come across as incredibly dismissive and impersonal.

    To properly rethink grief support, let’s first look at how society fails to acknowledge grievers the right way and instead tends to reduce great pain to Hallmark quotes.

    First, many people believe that every single thing happens for a reason – but this isn’t true. A healthy person could be alive this morning, only to suddenly die at noon. We are also constantly told that death is a lesson for personal or spiritual growth. But telling a grieving mother that her child’s death is something to learn from implies that her parenting is up for correction. That’s probably not the meaning people would intend, but it’s likely the hurtful statement she will hear. Isn’t it unnecessary? The truth is, death just happens; you don’t have to experience it to be a better person.

    Second, people can’t help starting a grief contest when they hear news of loss. Remember that time your coworker told you he lost someone, too, after you revealed the recent death in your family? While you know he meant to empathize with you, what he said could understandably grate on you. Why do well-meaning words tend to hurt or cause rage? It’s simple: no two losses are identical. All forms of loss are valid, but the degrees of pain and lasting life changes they cause are not the same. A breakup, while painful, isn’t the same as death – the same way that losing a job isn’t the same as losing a limb.

    Third, our cultural and medical definitions of grief are completely at odds with the reality of grief for those who have experienced it. Consider the five-stage grief model outlined by experts Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler. We tend to believe that grievers experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance in a linear sequence. While this model sheds a lot of truth on grief-adjacent emotions, not everyone’s response to immense loss will neatly fit into this order. You might dive straight into depression immediately after the loss, or struggle with acceptance for the rest of your life – and either way is OK.

    True support begins when we can comfortably call grief what it is: an experience to integrate and carry together, instead of a diagnosis to overcome alone.

    Discover how to honor grief freely in the next section.

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    What is It's OK That You're Not OK about?

    It’s OK That You’re Not OK (2017) is a radical take on grief. It deconstructs and recalibrates how we experience pain and support people who are grieving – and teaches us how to honor loss authentically.

    Who should read It's OK That You're Not OK?

    • First-time grievers
    • Anyone who’s lost a loved one to death
    • Those trying to support someone in pain

    About the Author

    Psychotherapist Megan Devine is a leader in the areas of grief and loss. She shakes up the world’s preconceived notions around grief through her website, media appearances, and training programs. She has pioneered Writing Your Grief, a course that connects communities of grievers and supporters.

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