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You Don’t Get A Map, You Get A Compass | Part II

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to connect with Cindy Hartner, author of “You Don’t Get a Map, You Get a Compass”. Today, you’ll find part two of our conversation, which focuses on grief. We asked Cindy to share advice for someone going through the grieving process. See her response and advice below:

What is your best tip towards overcoming grief?

Learning to find that “compass” within yourself and really listen to it is the fastest road to recovery. When you learn to sit still, forgive yourself for not being perfect, let go of your attachment to the outcome and surrender to the fact that you just don’t know, the quiet lessons and resources of the compass can finally get through to you.

What doesn’t work?

Trying to force the process to go faster. The body and the mind know what they are doing. If you have suffered loss, you are bruised on the inside just as if someone punched you and you were bruised on the outside. It will take time to heal.

What blocks people from getting help?

Some people are ashamed to feel so low, as if this is some failing of theirs. Some people are embarrassed to need others. Maybe people believe that they are supposed to suffer. So, this really comes down to belief. The belief that things can be better, that you have the ability to make them so, and releasing the belief that you are an island.

Things to remember as you are grieving:

  • Don’t follow someone else’s path. The grieving process is different for everyone.

  • Avoid putting a timeline on your grieving process.

  • Focusing on the way things used to be. Things will never be the same. They will ultimately be new, different and maybe better someday in the future.

When you know someone has experienced a loss...


... what should you say? Say, “I’m so sorry you are hurting.” “I wish I could take that hurt away from you.” “You are a strong person and I know things will feel better someday.”


... what should you avoid? “I know how you feel.” “At least it’s not . . . (fill in the blank).” Telling your own story – this is a hard one because you do want to empathize with them. It may be too soon for a “look on the bright side” comparison.

What have you learned?

I’ve learned that everyone has suffered loss on some scale and the severity of that loss is completely subjective to them. My goal is to help people feel less alone and to recognize their own resources to feel better.

Life is beautiful and complex. Bad things are going to happen. We are strong and powerful and up to the task of healing our emotional selves. There are magical gifts, lessons and resources all around us if we only Stop. Listen. And Receive them.

We want to thank Cindy for her insight and open and honest conversation about grief. As a reminder, if you’d like to learn more about Cindy’s story, we encourage you to buy her book, which can be found here, on Amazon.

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