Growing from loss
If there is one thing we can all be sure of, it is that each of us will experience loss in our life. These losses may be material, such as the death of a loved one, or of a more symbolic nature, such as loss of self-esteem or loss of expectations for oneself.
Although there is no one generic way to respond to loss, common emotions that you may experience include shock, anxiety, anger, guilt and loneliness. You may find it hard to accept that it has happened and worry about falling apart or being unable to cope. Physiological changes may occur, resulting in insomnia or oversleeping, an upset stomach, lack of energy, and/or decrease in appetite. You may find yourself withdrawing from other people or becoming clingy, avoiding reminders of what you have lost, or having difficulty separating from reminders.
So how can you cope with losses? Perhaps the first thing to do is review how you have coped with past losses and remind yourself that you can learn to cope again. Denying your loss or pretending it never happened is not helpful at this point. Try to not minimize the loss or how you feel about it. Instead, allow yourself to recognize and accept the loss. Try talking to someone about what the loss means to you or write about it. Whilst doing this, allow yourself to experience all the emotions that surface. If
you find the emotions overwhelming,
consider speaking to your GP or contacting me on 1800 768 411.
Once you have recognized and accepted the loss, start to focus on improving your everyday life. Arrange to engage in activities that you have enjoyed in the past, especially social ones. Make sure that you are living healthily, eating appropriately and exercising.
Start to focus on your future. Although it may not be possible to replace that which you have lost, particularly if it is a loved one, try to add new experiences or relationships to your life to fill the void. Once you have come to terms with the loss, use it as an opportunity to reevaluate your life, to reconsider your life goals and the direction in which you are heading.
Losses can teach us a lot about ourselves and allow for personal growth.