We talk about loss in broad strokes, but the action and its aftermath are very direct.
I’m writing this blog for a few reasons. One, this year has been tasked to teach me about loss, as I think that it has everyone in one way or another. Two, we all handle situations differently, and I believe that talking about loss and what my best ways of handling it were and still are will be helpful to someone.
This most definitely is not an go-to guide to dealing with loss, but here are some tips that got me through some difficult times.
There’s No Best Way to Prepare
I believe that there is no proper way to “deal” with loss, simply because we can prepare for a thing and still be surprised and hurt by it. The initial shock is always startling, and I don’t believe that there is a proper way to prepare for the loss of things.
However, just having the knowledge that things end is sometimes helpful. By things, I mean friendships, relationships, connections to parents, pets. I even include things such as dead-end jobs, habits you pick up such as the route you use to drive home, material items, and things like that.
All these things have a level of impermanence to them, they aren’t going to last forever.
Valuing What We Have While We Have It
With that in mind, I call on the phrase of giving them their flowers while they’re still here.
When we value what we have, cherish it, love it, and are grateful for it while we are participating in it, living with it, or in the relationship, friendship, or with that family member, it can make the loss of that thing less tempered with things like guilt or anger.
Yes, it is frustrating, but if you knew you spent your best days with your family, your relationship, at that job, doing those things that you may not be able to do tomorrow, or the following month. In hindsight, that is very difficult, and with the complicated relationships that people can have, sometimes impossible. I’m not saying that you should compromise yourself to maintain anything that may be toxic or unbeneficial to you, but what I am saying is maintain the connection when, where and with whom you can the best you can.
Breath, Name, Feel, Release
We try to control everything we can. That it’s how we’re wired. You can’t control emotions. In fact, by attempting to control them, we deny them the space to expand.
Take a deep breath when you can, name the emotions that you feel, feel those emotions, and then release them.
By doing this, we can center ourselves, especially with our breathing. Naming the emotions is important, by giving them a name, we can identify when we are feeling them again, we can notice what triggers us and avoid it, or if a trigger is unavoidable, we can prepare ourselves for it when we encounter it again.
Feeling the feelings is important. When we don’t, we deny ourselves the space to be a living being with complex emotions. When we push feelings down and away, when we ignore them, they can grow, and they can overpower us. Those repressed feelings can resurface in a flood at a person or in a situation that doesn’t warrant that.
While it may be inconvenient, try to find time to yourself to simply feel, be sad, cry, scream, or talk to a trusted loved one. Try to write down your feelings if expelling them physically isn’t possible, just get them out of you.
Finally, release them. Holding onto feelings can leave us feeling tired and drained of energy, they need proper acknowledgement and full release in order to assist with moving on from loss.
How Do You Handle Loss?
I know there is probably more that people may suggest.
There are many ways to deal, I’ve gone to therapy and that was immensely helpful, talking to people I love and who love me, openly does too, especially if therapy isn’t accessible to you. I’ve absolutely written out my feelings multiple times and that was helpful, too.
What are some ways that you’ve dealt with loss?