So I met with a friend today to talk about life-more specifically about the difficulty in accepting loss and being able to move on. This is a very sensitive topic for sure-and I have just belatedly realized that no one is immune to loss, everyone can relate! Even those who have seemingly perfect lives, those who appear to be so successful and appear to have it all (or have all that we personally desire), all can relate.
What is loss? What does loss mean to you? We go thru life trying to avoid loss at all costs, and when we “fail,” or when we “lose,” we feel bad. We blame ourselves, we blame others. “If only, blah blah blah…” “If only he or she…blah blah blahhhh.” Often times we get stuck and can’t move on. We cannot let go, cannot accept, cannot forgive. We have trouble forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. Why is loss so hard to accept? Perhaps our relationship with loss, and our interpretation of it, is what keeps us stuck.
My friend says, “Ya know life is about loss. As infants it is all about striving to get your needs met. The infant is hungry, so that is a loss, and she cries out to be fed. Now the infant is cold. So, she cries out and when a blanket is given, the infant is content. Suddenly the infant kicks off the blanket, and cries again…again cries over the loss.” Life is hard and life is often an accounting of losses. Loss is not the exception-loss is the rule. “Life is a series of losses,” he continues, “The question is how well do we deal with these losses and move on? How well do we grieve and then come to acceptance?” That is the challenge. Success in life is not about how well you avoid loss- rather it is about how well you navigate those losses and live on.
For me, this was a big paradigm shift. I had to stop and think about it-am thinking about it still! My friend also reminds me that our ability to accept our losses and move forward determines how well we are prepared for recognize and receive future opportunities. For surely, just as loss is an inevitable part of life, opportunities also abound, but if we cannot surrender to loss and move on, we will never be in a place to recognize or receive all the possibilities the future has in store for us!
My friend reminds me that dealing with loss is a process. It takes time to grieve effectively, to eventually come to acceptance, maybe even to give thanks in the end. If we try to move on too quickly and we are not truly ready even though we desperately want to be, we may falter. Sometimes the process cannot be rushed, yet we cannot linger in regret forever, either. Moving on takes strength as well as courage and will. But, like it or not, loss is often the catalyst that causes our strength to develop and our courage to surface. It is this very strength and courage that fuels our will to live on.
There is no magic formula, no one answer for everyone, not even a set time frame to recover from each type of loss or setback. But, understanding that life is synonymous to loss, was a great burden lifted for me. I am not a loser, the only one in the world who loses! We all lose in life-big deal, so what!!! Lets set our eyes on the horizon, and lean forward. smile.
Yes, after I have come to terms with my loss, I may go forward and…I may even lose again! Yet I cannot let that fear hold me back. And if I “lose”…so what? Even this future possibility implies success, for it meant that I got up, moved on, and dared to love again!