Skip to content

Grief: When Major Loss Challenges Your Beliefs

Font Size

Topic Overview

A major loss can challenge your sense of certainty in your belief system and religious faith. You may find yourself examining many of your values and beliefs, including the purpose of life, death, suffering, and whether there is a higher power. Alternately, you may gain comfort, courage, and hope from your religious beliefs during this time.

It is important to distinguish between religion and spirituality.

Recommended Related to Mental Health

The Truman Show Delusion: Real or Imagined?

Two doctor/brothers, Joel and Ian Gold, have identified symptoms of a mental illness unique to our times: the Truman Show delusion, named for the 1998 movie that starred Jim Carrey as a suburbanite whose movements were filmed 24/7 and broadcast to the world. The two say a handful of individuals are convinced they are stars of an imaginary reality show. Though limited, their findings are creating a buzz in the media and the psychiatric community: Is it possible that reality TV is shaping delusions? In...

Read the The Truman Show Delusion: Real or Imagined? article > >

  • Religion is a system of faith and worship of a divine being. There are many different types of religions. All religions have certain beliefs, practices, and rituals.
  • Spirituality is one's personal connection with and questions about the deepest meanings or powers governing life. Some people express their spirituality through their religion. Others may have a system of values and beliefs that does not include worship of a divine being.

There are some ways you can help yourself when you are questioning the purpose of life, death, and suffering.

  • Be clear about your feelings. Are you feeling unsure about your religious belief system? Are you angry because you have different beliefs from those of your religion? Are you feeling empty because you do not have a belief system that answers your questions?
  • Allow yourself the right to question. You may feel uncomfortable when you have questions that do not seem to have answers. Give yourself permission to say, "I don't have the answer for that right now," or "I don't know why this happened." Saying this instead of making up an answer or giving someone else's answer is often the first step in discovering what you truly believe.
  • Talk with someone you trust. Talk with someone who will listen to your concerns and will not try to answer your questions for you. If you talk about it, what is bothering you may become more clear and you may find the answers you are looking for.
  • Find a way to handle the feelings that arise. Are you angry with a higher power? Do you want to make a deal with a higher power as a way to avoid further distress and sadness? Are you frustrated with your feelings of helplessness? Do you feel guilty? It is important to recognize your feelings and handle them in the way that helps you resolve them.
  • Find answers to your questions about religious beliefs. If you are confused about a specific religious belief, ask someone who knows the answer. Talk with a clergy person. Read religious books or texts.
  • List your sources of spiritual (or religious) comfort or practices. What gives you comfort in times of questioning? Do you feel the need to be alone or with other people? Are there practices in your religion that you have not done in some time and would like to try again? If needed, talk with someone who can help you list and do some of the things you choose to do.

If you or someone you know is having trouble addressing religious or spiritual questions that arise while grieving, talk with a clergy person or a licensed counselor, social worker, or psychologist. Pastoral counseling, which combines the spiritual expertise of a member of the clergy with the skills of a licensed counselor, may be helpful. You can also ask your local librarian to recommend books that can help address your spiritual questions.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Grief: When Major Loss Challenges Your Beliefs Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.