“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” – Dalai Lama XIV
There is no denying that when we lose something it hurts, and depending on the size of the loss, it can hurt like hell. But we can still be happy in spite of the losses we experience during our lives. This would be because your happiness never came from the things you have lost, but because it came from within you. Situations or people do not have the ability to bring you true happiness, that can only come from within. Yet we, as humans, depend on other people to make us happy, or situations to turn out the way we want them to to be happy.
Even though loss is something that we experience almost daily, as the poem says, it is one of the hardest challenges for humans to process through. I would imagine that is why it is necessary for us to go through what is called a grief cycle when we experience a loss. Usually when we think of the grief cycle we think of someone dying. But we also go through mini-grief cycles anytime we suffer a loss.
The grief cycle consists of denial, anger, bargaining, depression (sadness), and acceptance. These are the emotions that we can go through when we experience a loss. We will not always experience all of them. The ones I listed pertain more to a death of a close friend or family. But with the mini-grief cycles we still experience these emotions, just not as intensely.
These mini-grief cycles are experienced usually in a matter of seconds, others take longer depending on what the loss involved. When we lose our favorite pen, it is mere seconds that we grieve, but we do grieve. If we happen to lose a job, the cycle will evidently last longer. And when it comes to the death of a loved one, or someone close, it is hard to say how long the grief will last…years I think. But no matter how long the grief cycle lasts, it is necessary for us to process through each grief cycle.
If we don’t process through a cycle the way we need to, and we then experience another intense loss, we begin to hold onto those emotions we experience during the grief cycle, and allow them to impact us in all different sorts of ways, both mentally and physically. When we have a loss, it is our job to not only experience these emotions of sadness and anger, and the like, but to sometimes embrace them. But we have got to learn to let go of them also, otherwise they will cripple us.
We human have an innate ability to get stuck in our grief cycles because we have never learned to let go of things. It is not one of the things we are taught growing up, like reading and writing. Our parents don’t teach it because even they have a hard time coping with loss or death, and letting go, so are not well equipped to teach their children how to do it. And so the cycle continues…
Maybe one of the reasons we get stuck is because we want control of something when we experience a loss that is out of our control. So if you can hold back your feelings, and not let yourself cry when you are sad, then you are able to control something at that time, even if it is your own feelings. But it is very very important that we allow ourselves to be sad during our losses, it is okay to cry when you lose something. It does not make you weak. It hurts and causes intense pain sometimes when we lose something or someone we love. Our sadness and our anger, our tears, it is a way for us to get through the good-bye. We just need to remember not to get stuck there.
We need to learn that loss, it is and always has been a part of living, and true happiness only comes with acceptance of those losses. Nothing in the physical world lasts forever, things break down or become broken, homes need repairs, we change jobs or get laid off, and the list goes on…
Yes, we fight or resist loss whenever it occurs, by getting stuck in our grief cycles. Why are you fighting it? It is a part of living. It is as it is. Processing through our losses is how we learn to let go, and our fighting and resisting is only creating unhealthy environments for us, both inside and out (this would be a case of a hoarder.)
So accept that loss is a part of living, and be willing to let go when you need to. Do not hold onto things, thoughts, emotions that no longer serve a purpose, and can create ill will for ourselves and others. Embrace your sadness, your anger when you lose a loved one. It is a great pain that we go through, and we owe it to our loved one to experience that pain fully so that we can move on and show our love by being happy again.
Our purpose is to be happy, in spite of what happens to us. Loss will always be a part of living, yet it does not have to take away our happiness, because it was never what was creating the happiness in the first place. You were creating that happiness yourself, from within.
Never let your losses define you –