GUEST POST: “Killer clichés” about loss

By Russell Friedman, executive director of the Grief Recovery Institute in Los Angeles

Post originally published by The Grief Recovery Institute.

We have all been educated on how to acquire things. We have been taught how to get an education, get a job, buy a house, etc. You can take courses in virtually anything that might interest you. What education do we receive about dealing with loss? What school do you choose, to learn to deal with the conflicting feelings caused by significant emotional loss? Loss is so much more predictable and inevitable than gain, and yet we are woefully ill-prepared to deal with loss. To make matters worse, society helps promote these killer cliches about loss. Let’s explore some of these clichés…

Killer Cliche #1

One of the most damaging killer clichés about loss is time heals all wounds. When we present open lectures on The Grief Recovery Method, we often ask if anyone is still feeling pain, isolation, or loneliness as the result of the death of someone important to them 20 or more years ago. There are always several hands raised in response to that question. Then we gently ask, “If time is going to heal, then 20 years still isn’t enough?” Recovery from loss is the result of actions taken within time, but it need not take as much time as you have been led to believe. Recovery is totally individual and there is no absolute time frame. Sometimes in an attempt to conform to other people’s time frames, we do ourselves great harm.

Killer Cliche #2

This idea leads us to another of the killer clichés, “You should be over it by now.” It is bad enough that well-meaning, well-intentioned friends attack us with killer clichés, but then we start picking on ourselves. We start believing that we are defective or somehow deficient because we haven’t recovered yet. If we take just these two killer clichés, we can see that they have something in common. They both imply that a non-action will have some therapeutic or recovery value. That by waiting and letting some time pass, we will heal. Let’s add a third cliché to the batch,

Killer Cliche #3

“You have to keep busy.” Many grievers follow this incorrect advice and work two or three jobs. They fill their time with endless tasks and chores. At the end of any given day, asked how they feel, invariably they report that their heart still feels broken; that all they accomplished by staying busy was to get exhausted. With only three basic killer clichés we can severely limit and restrict our ability to participate in effective recovery. It is not only that people around us tell us these clichés in an attempt to help, but we ourselves learned and practiced these false beliefs for most of our lives. It is time for us to learn some new and helpful beliefs to assist us in grieving and completing relationships that have ended or changed.


I have heard that it takes two years to get over the death of a loved one; five years to get over the death of a parent; and you never get over the death of a child. Is this true?


Part of the problem is the phrase get over. It is more accurate to say that you would never forget a child who had died, anymore than you would ever forget a parent or a loved one. Another part of the problem is that time, of itself, is a recovery action. Although recovery from loss does take some time, it is the actions within time that lead to successful recovery. The primary goal of The Grief Recovery Method is to help you grieve and complete relationships that have ended or changed. Using The Grief Recovery Method allows you to have fond memories not turn painful and helps you retake a happy and productive place in your own life. In addition, you regain the ability to begin new relationships, rather than attempting to replace or avoid past relationships. Click here to find local support in your community now!

Donald Trump: PR genius or nightmare?

“Let’s be more like Donald Trump.” Wait – what? Bear with me; he’s not all bad from a PR standpoint.

“No Such Thing as Bad Publicity.” Do you really believe that? Donald Trump certainly seems to.

Politics aside, you kind of have to admire the man for his apparently limitless ability to be in the news at all times. And not quite in a Kardashian kind of way. There is a rather large number of people who seem to like what Donald Trump says and does, and those who don’t like him definitely like talking about him. (Among all likely voters, 61% now say Trump is likely to be the official Republican presidential candidate.)

In the PR world, your message is vital, but the way you present it is just as important. As my mother always says, “Always tell the truth, just don’t always be telling it.” Trump takes this a little too far, telling it just like he thinks it is, whether it is true or not.

Trump says what he thinks, apparently without fore-thought or consideration for the consequences. His words make his listeners and readers sort of crazy, but they certainly don’t allow anyone to ignore him or take him lightly. The very controversy in his message and delivery has ensured his notoriety and therefore popularity. He is always in the news because he is always making the news. Instead of waiting for things to happen to him, he finds ways to make things happen.

Though he does frequently err on the side of too much negativity, his straightforward, no apologies kind of talk has proven effective – and the PR world can learn from it. We too often take the safe route, the politically correct sentence that is sure to offend no one – the kind of sentence that no one will notice and no one will remember. To create action, we must use language that creates emotion. While we don’t need to go quite as far as Donald Trump and make our audience hate us, we can and should take a few more risks.

So, let’s be more like Donald Trump while not being quite as Trump-y as he is. Let’s be more proactive and more direct in 2016, creating more emotions and inspire more actions in our audience.

A Different Kind of New Year: 2016

from Booth Media Group

Setting new year’s resolutions is certainly a time-honored tradition, and publicists are no different. We all want to be healthier, stronger, more financially secure, etc. We talk about signing up for classes, joining a gym, eating more vegetables, reading bigger books, and generally improving ourselves. 45% of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions, but only about 8% will be successful in reaching those goals.

What if our goals were different this year? Let’s not be part of the 55% who never make resolutions January 1st, or part of the 92% of those who do make them but don’t succeed. Instead of focusing on bettering ourselves (making ourselves look better, seem more interesting, or have more money), what if our goals were focused on making the lives of other people better by spending quality time with them, serving them, and spending more energy thinking about their needs than our own?

Consider setting goals like: spending an hour a week helping at a homeless shelter or with your elderly neighbor, giving 10% more to charity each month, spending an hour a week with your parents or grandparents, putting down your phone and taking a friend out for coffee instead, or teaching a class at the community center. Help mentor a child or teenager who is struggling with homework, home life, or where to go to college.

Writing these goals down and putting them somewhere you can see them often has been found to help us keep resolutions. Also, telling your friends about your goals will help prompt you to follow through.

There is strength in numbers, so why not ask your co-workers and those who shop or work with you to join you in these resolutions? Form a group for volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or hold a neighborhood yard sale and give the proceeds to charity. Helping others can be more fun with friends.
Looking outward at others and taking action has been proven to reward us exponentially. Why not score a WIN/WIN in 2016?

Let us know what resolutions YOU and your friends will be making for next year.