Loss prods at your heart like a sharpened blade. Coated with desperation and grief, that knife will lead you astray. It will alter your path, forcing you down a destructive journey. A road where this loss is provided strength; a power you would never dream of simply passing over to such a damaging experience.
Your happiness will be edged from the picture. Anguish will win the battle over your heart.
And it hurts. It pains us far more than we’d care to admit.
Loss is Universal
Regardless of its negative connotations and the treacherous effect it may provoke, a heavy loss is a part of the human experience. It’s natural. A forced to be reckoned with, it’s felt by billions.
It’s a feat capable of eradicating a young entrepreneur’s ambition. An experience drenched with the ability to alter a young child’s dream to the point of complete destruction. Yet above all, loss is a fundamental piece of your journey.
The passing of a loved one. The unfortunate situation where your hand is forced to end a longtime friendship. The undesirable feeling that follows from a demotion, when you are lowered from a seat of power to one of less responsibility in your company.
It hurts. And yes, it hits you harder than you’d care to make known. Yet loss is essential to your progression as a human being.
Reasonably, you would rather focus on something else. You’d rather hear about happiness – a life filled of optimism and positive opportunities. But life, no matter how positive you make it, is never completely controllable. There are some things that will always be out of your hands. You may have the power to craft your journey, but the path of another may intertwine with yours. Opportunities won’t always work in your favor. And sadly, the short end of the stick is inevitably in your future.
Life will never be as simple or straight-forward as you’d like.
Those sad moments – incidents filled with grief, tragedy, and sadness – shape your life. And the lessons wrought from such losses are valuable, not only to your life’s progression, but to your value in society.
Loss has more power than you realize. Whether you’re in tune enough to understand those powers depends on you. But the significance of such tragedies is worth the all too common experience.
1. How to Mourn While Moving On
Perhaps you feel mourning is easy. Maybe you view it a simple, straight-forward part of life; a common consequence one experiences after dealing with a substantial loss.
But grieving isn’t that simple. It’s not all tears and distraught emotions. The mourning process is far more involved than a crying session after a heated breakup.
After a significant loss, you’re told to pick up the pieces. You are forced to move on because, quite often, there is nothing that can be done. There is nothing left in your power to fix what has already been broken. But simply moving on is impossible. It isn’t a one step process fashioned with the makings of a stress-free post-tragedy experience.
If you’ve got an ounce of humility, any shred of emotion simmering inside you, grief is the next natural step. And one of the most influential lessons a loss can teach is how to mourn while moving on. It will help you work up the stamina to grieve while still waking up for work. With the chaos of your family’s schedule, mourning will help you find strength to carry on.
Allow yourself time to mourn. Moving on is possible, but you must find strength within yourself to proceed. Remember: life doesn’t stop when you do.
2. The Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy
Perhaps you recently lost your job. Hardworking, ambitious, successful – that job was your life. And within hours the loss has consumed you. You’ve stopped taking phone calls. The desire to succeed has seeped from your system.
In light of your situation, a friend or two take it upon themselves to console you; to help you in your time of need. With a case of beer and a pizzas in hand, they trudge to your place for a movie. Throughout the evening, your friends listen to your situation in full. Letting you vent, they munch on pizza and allow you the opportunity to cry over your loss.
One friend – let’s call him Steve – listens attentively, relating your situation to their recent job loss experience. He conveys feeling with his background in mind. He pours you another beer with understanding eyes and relates to your situation personally. The other friend, Matt, listens and lets you vent. He feels for your situation. He understands why you feel the way you do. But throughout the night, he remains slightly more distant than Steve.
What’s the difference between the two friends? One portrayed empathy, whereas the other relayed sympathy. Steve, by utilizing his background and relating to you, was empathetic towards your situation. Conversely, Matt portrayed sympathy by feeling regret for your recent loss.
To be empathetic is to personally feel for another’s problem. It’s the feeling that their story concerns you; the ability to put yourself in their shoes. Sympathy, on the other hand, is compassion without personal feelings of emotional strife. In this case, you would carry a sense of regret for a person’s tribulations, but you wouldn’t feel personally involved.
It highlights the difference between empathy and sympathy. Whether your peers realize which quality they utilize isn’t really significant. It’s your understanding of their reaction that matters.
Learn when sympathy is required over empathy. The way your peers react to your loss will help you craft your future response to another’s grief.
3. How to Survive When Life Feels Meaningless
Loss helps you understand your strengths. It enables you; helps you learn how capable you truly are – regardless of how much you feel has been taken. It highlights your abilities when the people you hold most precious are ripped from your life.
It helps you progress when whatever filled you with positivity and hope is snatched from your grasp. Abruptly; without warning.
The experience of loss may be difficult. Your feelings towards such experiences may be filled with negative connotations. You may not deem yourself able to move past such an emotional rollercoaster. But you can. And the benefits are astounding.
Surviving with an intact ambition is tough. Maintaining the courage to progress in the face of a loss can be stressful. Yet it is not the experience that crafts your future. It’s the manner you hold yourself when trying times arise.
Loss Is One of Life’s Necessary Evils
Fortunately, you can make such tragedies work in your benefit.
If you haven’t felt the pull of an emotional loss, you’re missing out. Without this experience, you will never truly be given the opportunity to truly feel something. You will never understand the influence of loss. What’s more, you will never fully appreciate what it can do to a person’s growth.
Learn from the losses life throws your way. Keep an eye out for the benefits that come along with. Craft those trying times into lessons.
You will only suffer if you let it happen.