Loss often comes quickly and unexpectedly. No matter how prepared you think you are, if something or someone you cherish is suddenly gone, you can find yourself feeling crushed, desolate, hopeless and lost.
Can you get beyond the pain? Will it ever be possible to move on to positive growth? Yes, you CAN! Here are some tips and ideas for you.
What Is Loss?
In nature, loss is an essential element of creation: the rose blossoms, the bud is lost. The day begins, the night is lost. In nature, loss sets the stage for further creation and regeneration.
The same is true in human life. Our baby teeth are lost as permanent teeth are gained. People die and babies are born. In the natural process of surviving, healing and growing, losses will be followed by gains.
There are Many Kinds of Losses
- Obvious Losses: Death of a loved one, ending a relationship, losing a job or money.
- Not so Obvious Losses: Moving, changing teachers, end of a dream or cherished ideal.
- Age Related Losses: Childhood dreams ending, loss of youth, beauty or health.
- Success Losses: Goals achieved can mean the loss of something to strive for.
- Mini-Losses: A dent in your car, disagreement with a friend, traffic ticket, or losing money in a vending machine. These little losses can add up to big pains.
- Temporary Losses: When a loved one travels out of town, or a child goes off to school, we can feel the loss.
- Limbo Losses: Waiting for someone to make a decision, a business transaction that may or may not fall through. Is it on-is it off? Is it a gain-is it a loss? The feeling of being ”in limbo” is in itself a loss.
Each loss creates an emotional wound. The good news is there are identifiable stages of grief and positive healing action steps you can take to bring love, laughter and joy back into your life.
Five Stages of Loss
For every loss, there are common feelings everyone will experience. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, an internationally acclaimed psychiatrist and author of the book ‘On Death and Dying’ completed groundbreaking research that improved the way the world coped with the process of loss, death and dying.
Her research led to a discovery that there were clearly identifiable stages of grief and bereavement. While the order, duration and intensity may vary from person to person, or loss to loss, here are five things that the majority of us will experience for each loss:
- Denial and Shock: This can’t be true, it’s not that bad.
- Anger: This should never have happened! It’s NOT fair!
- Bargaining: I’ll do anything if only ……
- Depression: I can’t continue, it’s too much to bear.
- Acceptance: In spite of the loss, I still have many blessings in my life.
Correcting Four Misconceptions About Loss
1. Tears are not a sign of weakness. Tears are one way humans release intense feelings. Tears will start the healing process and help to wash away the pain.
2. Do discuss death or loss with a grieving person. You don’t have to solve the problem or heal a loss, often all that is necessary is to acknowledge their pain.
3. Children should not be sheltered from grief. When we try to protect a child from pain, we deny them the opportunity to learn essential life skills for healing and coping with pain and loss.
4. Your loss is not an end to caring about a loved one. While the physical body may be absent, the memories and feelings you shared will transcend time.
What Does Loss Feel Like?
Everyone knows what loss feels like, right? Well, not necessarily.
There are obvious feelings of pain, depression, and sadness. There are also other reactions to loss that are not so obvious. Some of these hidden feelings are: helpless, fearful, empty, pessimistic, irritable, angry, guilty, restless. Some physical symptoms are: fatigue, inability to concentrate, changes in appetite, sleep patterns, or sexual drive, error-prone and slower in speech and movement.
Any or all of these can be expected during and after the experience of a loss. It’s part of the body’s natural healing process. Recognize these changes for what they are and embrace them as opportunities for personal growth.
What to Do
There are many ways to live with and build positively from a loss. The first thing to do, and certainly the most important, can also be the hardest: Talk about your feelings.
When times are toughest, people often blame themselves or try to protect those around them. Unfortunately, this ‘protection’ keeps you feeling alone and emotionally overwhelmed.
Here are seventeen nuggets of wisdom to help you heal:
- Accept your feelings of loss and pain
- Get lots of rest and proper nutrition
- Realize the healing process takes time
- Join a support or mastermind group
- Pamper yourself, do something you love
- List out what was – and still is – good
- Forgive the other person – and yourself
- Stick to your routine or create a schedule
- Recognize and release angry feelings
- Be of service, volunteer in your community
- Invite new people into your life
- Develop new interests and enjoy old interests
- Make a commitment to live your life fully.
- Use past memories as a foundation for new growth
- Practice meditation or prayer
- Give smiles, praise and gratitude to others
- Share laughter – humor is a great healer
Reach Out and Focus on a Bright Future
You will discover there were things in your life from before your loss that you still enjoy. Friends help you recall what was meaningful in the past and can help you look to the future with increasing hope.
We wish you much success on your journey of transforming loss into living, loving and laughing once again. Remember life is like a river – it is easier and more peaceful to go with the flow. New adventures are before you. Each day can unfold to reveal new hopes and dreams. Seek them out and embrace them with wide-eyed wonder and joy!
About the Author:
John (“Dealey”) Carpenter Dealey, International MasterMind expert, entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and self-made millionaire is dedicated to helping people solve problems, finish strong and reach their goals with “ease and grace.”
To learn how to use these powerful principles of the mastermind to bring even more of what you love into your own personal and business life, sign up for a free subscription to the weekly MasterMind Tips ezine at: http://www.dr-mastermind.com/