Loss is a sad and difficult part of life. It can make us bitter or better. There are so many things you can lose; a family member through death or separation, friends, neighbours, a life or business partner, your job, home, life savings or even a beloved pet.
Loss takes many shapes and forms but the common experiences of loss are feeling devastated, overwhelmed and a reduced ability to function and cope with life.
Loss makes us feel lonely and disconnected which are both ingredients for unhappiness and bad health.
The more and deeply we value what we have lost the more disturbing the loss is. Children leaving home, moving to another country, changing jobs and many other transitions in life can also provoke feelings of loss.
Sometimes loss can be very public and sometimes it is very private. Sometimes it is humiliating. It is always painful and leaves a vacuum in your heart and life for at least some time.
We will all experience loss in life. The happening can leave your life without meaning. The most important thing to realize about loss is that no matter how difficult, painful or devastating it feels, you will get through this and you can find happiness and meaning again.
Different theories outline different stages of bereavement and grieving loss. There are phases of denial, anger, grief, acceptance and finally renewal when we step back into the flow of life again. None of the steps can be bypassed. There are no short cuts.
Self-Awareness is very important as this helps us make sure we are not stuck in any of the stages of loss and that we are going through each one, processing what we need to process and moving forward.
Here are some steps that may help you when affected by loss.
1. Accept and deal with your feelings: We have a tendency to avoid discomfort. Many people suppress feelings of loss. The suppression of any negative feelings only serves to make you even more uncomfortable and broken in the future.
People who do not deal with their negative emotions have many more psychological and physiological problems according to research than those that do.
Anger, confusion, fear, sadness loneliness, frustration, resentment, shock, denial, shame, guilt, regret, and many other negative emotions that come up need to be worked through.
Talking to someone else, writing things down or even meditation will help you process painful emotions. The most import thing is to ensure you are dealing with and facing your feelings and to get the help you need to do this.
2. Get involved in life again within a reasonable timeframe. Take small steps to fill the vacuum with things that bring something positive to you. It could be travel, spending time with friends or doing a new project.
3. Bitter or Better-Straight roads don't make good drivers. Every difficulty or loss in life will teach you something. The challenges of life can make us bitter or better. Choose Better. Be open to learning or growing from your loss.
4. Make sense of things again in a new way. It is important to live life accepting it as it is. When it is not how we want it to be and we keep reminding ourselves of that, we feel sad and frustrated and block ourselves from growing and moving forward.
When you have gone through the phases of bereavement, nudge yourself forward and engage.And repeat as necessary to feel good again.