- Loss, at varying levels, is prevalent in every person’s life. There is no elitism or prejudice in the world of loss; it attacks everyone.
Loss involves not only death, but illness, jobs, financial security, relationships, home, personal belongings, or privacy. Having skills to work through loss is vital. People who have a protected, sheltered upbringing develop few tools to deal with the hurt and unfairness of ordinary
loss. Parents would be wise to allow children to experience pain from loss and teach them how to grieve successfully.
Life is not always kind, fair, or gentle. If we search for purpose in letting go, in the inevitable life changes, or in the strength demanded from loss, we could reflect on what we are intended to learn.
If I could eliminate loss from life, I would, but it would be a mistake. Without occasionally losing what is dear to us, we would be stagnant, shallow, and ungrateful. We would pass little wisdom to the next generation, and we would eventually lose our ability to feel emotions. Our
memories would decline because we remember events that cause intense feelings. Joy in our life would feel flat because the intensity of our happiness has a direct relationship to the depth of our pain.
Helping a person recover from significant loss is a large percentage of a counselor’s caseload. Loss enters the therapy room when a person is needing help with death, addiction, abuse, parenting, depression, anxiety, mental health, or relationships. Loss is a part of living, and knowing what to expect after a tragedy is essential to regaining equilibrium and a sense of wellbeing.
The stages are denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and release. The problem is, it doesn’t go one, two, three, four, release. It travels forward and backward, and when you think you feel better, it starts again. Another challenge is, loss often comes in duplicate or triplicate. Life can dump on a person or family. You might be in the depression stage of one loss, the anger stage of another, and denial in another. To relate, imagine families after wildfires, hurricanes, or tornadoes. They are faced with a multitude of loss and extremely complex grieving.
Most people, if they have trouble moving to the release stage, are going to get stuck between anger and depression. Healthy living habits help: Adequate sleep, exercise, colorful food (I’m not referring to M&Ms), positive friends, moderate alcohol, and forward looking activities.
Counseling, especially group counseling, can assist in getting unstuck. Remember, it takes a healthy person to say, “I need help with this.”
Loss is unavoidable in life, and everyone deals with it in their own timeline and comfort zone. People vary in life, love, and loss, so allow yourself and others permission to heal uniquely.
Learning to grow through loss could be the secret ingredient to contentment.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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