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It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand (Paperback)
As seen in THE NEW YORK TIMES • READER'S DIGEST • SPIRITUALITY & HEALTH • HUFFPOST
Featured on NPR's RADIO TIMES and WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO
When a painful loss or life-shattering event upends your world, here is the first thing to know: there is nothing wrong with grief. “Grief is simply love in its most wild and painful form,” says Megan Devine. “It is a natural and sane response to loss.”
So, why does our culture treat grief like a disease to be cured as quickly as possible?
In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy. Having experienced grief from both sides—as both a therapist and as a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner—Megan writes with deep insight about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing. She debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, “happy” life, replacing it with a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it. In this compelling and heartful book, you’ll learn:
• Why well-meaning advice, therapy, and spiritual wisdom so often end up making it harder for people in grief
• How challenging the myths of grief—doing away with stages, timetables, and unrealistic ideals about how grief should unfold—allows us to accept grief as a mystery to be honored instead of a problem to solve
• Practical guidance for managing stress, improving sleep, and decreasing anxiety without trying to “fix” your pain
• How to help the people you love—with essays to teach us the best skills, checklists, and suggestions for supporting and comforting others through the grieving process
Many people who have suffered a loss feel judged, dismissed, and misunderstood by a culture that wants to “solve” grief. Megan writes, “Grief no more needs a solution than love needs a solution.” Through stories, research, life tips, and creative and mindfulness-based practices, she offers a unique guide through an experience we all must face—in our personal lives, in the lives of those we love, and in the wider world.
It’s OK That You’re Not OK is a book for grieving people, those who love them, and all those seeking to love themselves—and each other—better.
About the Author
Megan Devine is a writer, speaker, and advocate for emotional change on a cultural level. She holds a master’s in counseling psychology. Since the tragic loss of her partner in 2009, Megan has emerged as a bold new voice in the world of grief support. Her contributions via her site Refuge in Grief have helped create sanctuary for those in pain and encouragement for those who want to help. For more, visit refugeingrief.com.
Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for over 40 years. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, he has published 21 books and recorded 14 audio projects. Mark has been interviewed several times by Oprah Winfrey as part of her Super Soul Sunday TV show, and was interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. As a cancer survivor, Mark devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages. For more, see marknepo.com.
“It’s OK That You’re Not OK is a permission slip to feel what you feel, do what you do, and say what you say, when life finds you in a place of profound loss and the world seems hell-bent on telling you the right way to get back to being the person you'll never again be.” —Jonathan Fields, author of How to Live a Good Life, founder of Good Life Project
“Megan Devine has captured the grief experience: grief is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be honored. She understands the pain that grieving people carry on top of their actual grief, including the pain of being judged, dismissed, and misunderstood. It’s OK That You’re Not OK is the book I’ve been waiting for for 30 years—the one I can recommend to any newly bereaved parent, widow, widower, or adult grieving a death.” —Donna Schuurman, senior director of advocacy and training at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families
“In this beautifully written offering for our broken hearts, Megan Devine antidotes the culture’s messed up messages about bearing the unbearable. We don’t have to apologize for being sad! Grief is not a disease from which we must be cured as soon as possible! Rather, the landscape of loss is one of the holiest spaces we can enter. Megan serves as our fearless, feisty, and profoundly compassionate guide.” —Mirabai Starr, translator of Dark Night of the Soul: John of the Cross and author of Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation
“This book is POWERFUL. Too many grief books focus on ‘getting over it,’ but this book says: ‘Look grief in the eye. Sit with it.’ It’s OK That You’re Not OK comes at grief with no flinching. It’s intelligent and honest. It’s a message that everyone who has ever dealt with loss needs to read.” —Theresa Reed, author of The Tarot Coloring Book
“Our current cultural norms surrounding death render us incapable of dealing with grief authentically and result in unknowingly causing more hurt and suffering to not only ourselves, but the people we care about most. It’s OK That You’re Not OK is the perfect how-to manual to help heal and support ourselves, each other, and our death-avoidant society.” —Sarah Chavez, executive director of The Order of the Good Death
“Megan Devine knows grief intimately: she’s a therapist and a widow. In this wonderfully honest and deeply generous book, Devine confronts the reality of grieving and reminds us that ‘love is the thing that lasts.” —Jessica Handler, author of Invisible Sisters: A Memoir and Braving the Fire: A Guide to Writing About Grief and Loss
“Megan Devine’s hard-won wisdom has the power to normalize and validate the experience of grief. If you’re tired of being asked, ‘Are you better now?’ read this book for a fresh perspective.” —Chris Guillebeau, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit
“Grief support and understanding that is heartfelt, straightforward, and wise.” —Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart
“It’s OK That You’re Not OK is a wise and necessary book. Megan Devine offers a loving, holistic, and honest vision of what it means to ‘companion each other inside what hurts.” —Steve Edwards, author of Breaking into the Backcountry
“In a culture that leaves us all woefully unprepared to navigate grief, Megan Devine’s book is a beacon for a better way of relating. It’s OK That You’re Not OK shows us the path to be companions, rather than saviors, to loved ones who are experiencing deep pain. This book should be required reading for being human.” —Kate McCombs, relationship educator and creator of Tea & Empathy events
“Megan Devine tells the truth about loss, and in doing so, she normalizes an experience that has been censored and stigmatized. It’s OK That You’re Not OK is enormously comforting and validating. Through her life work—and now this important book—Megan leads us to a place that’s rare in our culture: a place where our loss is valued and honored and heard.” —Tré Miller Rodríguez, author of Splitting the Difference: A Heart-Shaped Memoir
“One of the hardest things about going through hard times is trying to get and give support. In It’s OK That You’re Not OK Megan Devine guides us through tough times with grace. With loving acceptance and compassion, Megan is the new, warm perspective you need.” —Vanessa Van Edwards, author of Captivate and behavioral investigator at ScienceofPeople.com
“Megan Devine shows us that rather than treat grief as an illness to recover from, we can approach it with warmth and understanding. This is an invaluable book.” —Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Enchanted and The Child Finder
“This book is the radical take on grief we all need. Megan Devine breaks apart stereotypes and societal expectations that layer additional suffering on top of the intense heartbreak of loss. For those in grief, these words will bring comfort and a deep sense of recognition. With precise language, insightful reflections, and easy-to-implement suggestions, this book is a flashlight for finding a way in the darkest times. For anyone looking to support others in their grief, this is required reading!” —Jana DeCristofaro, coordinator of Children’s Grief Services, The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families