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Handling Grief: A Reflection on International Women's Day

March 08, 20244 min read

Grief can come suddenly like a tsunami, devastating our lives and hurting our hearts. As we celebrate International Women's Day, it is important to recognize and address the impact of grief on women around the world. While grief is often viewed as a personal struggle, its communal nature joins women together in shared experiences, developing strength, resilience, and empowerment.

Understanding Grief:

Grief is the normal and natural emotional response to loss of any kind, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a dream, or even a sense of self. International Women's Day provides a moment to reflect on the unique ways in which women navigate grief and emerge as powerful motivators for change. I am a testament to the fact that it is possible to move forward after loss and get your life back by turning your pain into purpose.

Loss and Empowerment

Loss and Empowerment:

Women, throughout history, have faced multifaceted losses, ranging from the personal to the systemic. International Women's Day encourages us to acknowledge and honor the grief that accompanies these losses while highlighting the strength and resilience that can develop through overcoming tough times.

Loss of Identity:

One aspect of grief that women often struggle with is  loss of identity. Society and cultural expectations and gender stereotypes can impose restrictions on women, stifling their individuality leading to low self worth. The journey toward empowerment involves mourning the losses that arise from societal expectations, dealing with the scars of discrimination and embracing one's true self. 

One of my clients struggled with her sense of identity after she lost the job in which she had poured her heart and soul for many years. She took action to get help to heal her hurts and disappointments. She reconnected with who she was beyond her job and turned her pain into purpose.

We can’t control what happens but remember, we can choose how we respond. Turning your mindset from victim to victor makes a huge difference.

Loss of Opportunities:

Inequities in education, employment, and leadership positions have resulted in women facing the loss of opportunities throughout history. International Women's Day serves as a platform to recognize and grieve these missed chances while advocating for a future where opportunities are abundant for all. It is important to also celebrate the wins and opportunities that have been gained.

Loss of Safety:

Many women face the loss of safety due to various forms of violence and discrimination. Grieving the violation of personal safety is an integral step in the empowerment process. International Women's Day amplifies the need for creating a world where women can live free from fear and oppression.

Shared Grief, Collective Strength:

As women collectively face these losses, a shared grief emerges, forming a powerful force that connects in vision and purpose. International Women's Day celebrates the unity born from shared experiences, developing a sense of sisterhood and solidarity. Through empathy and understanding, women can transform their collective grief into a resource for change.

Overcoming Grief Through Empowerment

Overcoming Grief Through Empowerment:

1. Self-Reflection and Acceptance:

International Women's Day encourages women to embark on a journey of self-reflection, acknowledging their grief and embracing it as a natural part of the human experience. Acceptance of one's emotions is the first step toward empowerment. It’s also a great opportunity to reflect on women’s strengths and inspiring achievements.

2. Building Supportive Communities:

Creating a supportive network of women is valuable in overcoming grief and encouraging empowerment. International Women's Day provides an opportunity to strengthen these communities, offering a space for shared stories, empathy, and encouragement. What can you do in your circles of influence to create a supportive network?

3. Advocacy for Change:

Transforming grief into empowerment involves channeling the collective strength of women into advocacy for systemic change. Whether it be through policy reform, activism, or education, International Women's Day serves as a platform to amplify women's voices and work towards creating a fairer world through collaboration and cooperation.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us recognize the transformative potential in grief. By acknowledging the losses women face and embracing the strength that emerges from shared experiences, we pave the way for a future where women worldwide can realize their full potential to contribute to creating a better world for everyone. Through handling grief resourcefully, we can find resilience, and through this, we can find the collective power to shape a world where women's voices are also heard and respected.

Let’s work together to decrease fear and increase love and kindness.

Grief Specialist

Ghulam Fernandes

Grief Specialist

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