Dealing with loss is not easy, although its impact is measured by its significance to your life and your identity.
Whatever the circumstance it’s lonely and trying to reconnect with your identity and trying to move forward with your life is a challenge you never anticipate.When you lose a piece of your life that signifies a large part of your identity, repairing the damage requires you to regain control.
Loss presents itself with many challenges and I think the first thing you lose is control over your emotions. For anyone that has suffered any kind of loss can agree, that the arrangement of different emotions overwhelms your ability to process.
Sadness can get burdened by anger, anger can possibly lead to guilt, guilt gets enhanced by thoughts of hope and happiness, then reality kicks back in and you’re back to feeling sad again. The cycle continues on and on as you raise more questions to gain understanding and/or try to move on.
The effect from mixed emotions can cloud your identity. For those that haven’t suffered loss, relate by remembering how it feels when embarking on something new. When you start something new you’re excited and scared at the same time, you’re confident yet hopeful and can feel stressed yet still feel very ready. This constant cycling through emotions cause doubt and confusion. The series of emotions are different but the way they impact your identity are the same – they slow you from progression.
If you’re anything like me, avoidance is your go to. To avoid facing each and every emotion you end up focusing on routine, like burying yourself into work perhaps, or starting random projects that don’t make sense at this particular point in time.
At the other end of the spectrum you have a self-pitying and self-loathing reaction to loss.
Whichever way you choose to deal, the answer isn’t avoidance. You need to line up your emotions and deal with each feeling properly. Reduce its impact by allowing yourself to feel and build up a tolerance, so the next time it comes around you can cope better.
Between all the support and sympathy try and source support from someone strong willed enough to tell you to regain control, to tell you that you can rebuild your life again. It comes across brutish in society but when you’re going through cycles of emotions you need this awakening to break from it.
One thing you should determine is whether you were prepared for the loss or not, sounds a bit silly in a lot of situations but you’ll find understanding this really helps with reasoning your emotions. There’s an odd source of strength that comes from knowing this.
If you were prepared you can put yourself back together much more quickly. Take losing your job for example, you can prepare for the potential of also losing your home. As horrible as it sounds you can almost process the loss before the loss even occurs and put processes in place to help you through it. It alleviates some of the stress however can cause anxiety as you wait for it to happen.
However, when life catches you off guard and side swipes you with loss, you’re having to prepare after the loss occurs. It’s like literally getting stabbed in the back, you don’t see it coming and you don’t know the attacker but you’re left to deal with it after it’s occurred. When loss is unforeseen it is much more difficult to recover, but knowing this gives you the freedom to feel each raw emotion in its entirety. It causes much more stress but lessens anxiety.
Either way, distinguishing your level of preparation, will help you move towards reaching that point of evaluation and reflection. It sounds simple but it’s something you never really consider when faced with loss…it allows you to look at your loss somewhat objectively, allowing your mind to think outside the cycle of emotion.
Evaluate and Reflect
Evaluate your current circumstance, at this very moment evaluate your responsibilities and really pick apart your life to understand your significance within it. Turn to areas of your life that require you to be yourself again, if you don’t get back on track with life what else will suffer? You need this reminder, you need this reasoning to break the cycle.
Reflect on your past and the life you have built, look to the choices you've had to make to build it. You’re currently faced with choices even though you may not see them yet. These choices can repair or further break down your identity, taking more parts of your life away with it. For example, choices that result in you lying in bed all day or getting up to seize the day.
You may never be the same person after suffering a huge loss but you can rebuild your identity to a point of restoration. Like constructing new walls that restore old ruins - it may not be the same but it can defiantly be brought back from frailty, to be relished once again.
Remember, it is OK to think about yourself – you need to. To regain control you need to move forward step by step and you must start with reclaiming your identity. Each and every day you work to feel like yourself again is a day contributed to moving forward and filling in the missing parts of your life.