By Brian McKay
It can be so very hard when something or someone is lost in life. Maybe it was the love of your life, a job you loved or, as many Americans experienced during the recession, the loss of homes and savings, it hurts. Sometimes one thing begets another and seems to all be crashing in on you at once.
Learning through loss can seem impossible when you are smack in the middle of it. No lives go untouched by loss, but the reactions can be either harmful or enlightening. It is said that the character of a person is not seen when times are good but when they are difficult. Loss is a chance to show and grow your character.
Before anything can be accomplished and learn you must acknowledge the pain. It is those that run from it that create even more opportunities for loss in the future. True learning is based in reality, not in hiding from it.
Periods of loss create the biggest opportunities for self-discovery. Instead of building walls, this is the time to tear them down. Who am I? Why did this happen? Start asking questions and looking inside yourself for the answers. This is an opportunity to explore yourself in your purest form. Utilizing the services of a counselor or therapist can really foster the self-exploration and accelerate the healing process. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends for recommendations of a great therapist. It is a wonderful thing that now in the United States the use of therapy is no longer a bad thing to admit. It has become a strength in one’s admission of vulnerability and need to seek guidance.
Times of stress and loss are a wonderful time to be there for others. The best route to healing hurt is in helping others that are hurting. It reaffirms your purpose in the world and gives new meaning to your life. Learning that you are not alone and can make a difference, no matter how small, is a gift you now get to give yourself. When the period of hurt ends you will retain that gift and carry it throughout your life. Empathy is so valuable and this period has helped you grow it while helping others.
Small experiences become special when you experiencing loss. If a squirrel just ran across the lawn with a huge nut and you grinned, cherish that moment. Little things are amazing. Maybe before this struggle began life was complex. Now your introspection gives you an opportunity to simplify it and return to those small things that bring joy.
What is being experienced now creates strength for the next time it is needed. No one will ever experience loss just once in life. Our connections and the intricacies of our world mean that there will be periods of both loss and joy throughout our existence. This might feel like the big one right now, but you are navigating it and surviving. The strength you are gaining is invaluable and will make the next period so much easier to accept and work your way through.
Believe it or not your life philosophy is being actively shaped at this moment. It is being shaped more than any other time and the learning is more pronounced. It will eventually be shocking to you how many opportunities will arise to apply that better formed life philosophy in the future. Whether in business, friendships or romantic relationships, it will be extremely valuable.
Overcoming loss is something of which you can be very proud. Making it through the rain, so to speak, is your special moment. You have learned and grown through the experience. Most important after emergence from the turbulence is in knowing that you are strong. Your soul is more formed now and you should dance to your ability to persevere and carry on. Congratulate yourself for making it and learning through the loss.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license
Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption. Periods of loss have shaped his life in ways he never imagined. Those have been his biggest learning experiences in life and have created an appreciation of this world he never imagined.