Grieving everyday losses

The authors of “The Grief Recovery Handbook” describe grief as the set of conflicting emotions that accompany a change in a familiar pattern.

That’s a broad definition, and they deliberately chose a broad definition.

Why? Because grief is everywhere. Our familiar patterns are broken all the time and as a result we may experience conflicting emotions. That’s what grief IS.

Why bring this up?

Because a failure to grieve leads to suffering. If we don’t acknowledge the emotions we’re feeling they get pent up inside of us and make their way to the surface in other ways.

If you apply for a job and don’t get it, it may trigger sadness. Absolutely normal.

If we don’t allow ourselves to BE sad however, and instead pretend to instantly believe “Ah well, I guess they weren’t a fit for me anyway”, we suppress our grief.

Suppressed grief will come to the surface sooner or later. We may mull over the lost opportunity for weeks to come. It may chip away at our confidence in applying for other jobs. It may make us increasingly apprehensive about our career.

If instead we allow ourselves to be sad when something sad happens, we can deal with the sadness of the event then and there. Allowing the sadness to, just, be…

Another example.

While I was travelling through South America on my motorcycle at some point my helmet was stolen. It was stolen right from underneath my head while I was sleeping.

When I noticed it was missing, I knew immediately it was stolen.

First, I felt sadness. So I decided to take the rest of the day to GRIEVE my motorcycle helmet.

I let the sadness be. And when I let it be I could feel more of it. I was sad because it was a good helmet. Other helmets had much more draft in them, but this one kept my head warm at all times.

I was also sad because I did not want to ride without a helmet.

Then I felt overwhelmed. Where the f*** was I going to find a new helmet? I was in the middle of Paraguay. No one even uses a helmet in Paraguay.

Then I became mad. Those damn thieves. Screw this country. Screw South America I thought.

“I’m sad and I’m mad and I hate these people” I said to myself. I said it only to acknowledge how I felt at the time. Now I don’t feel that way. But to pretend I didn’t at the time would be silly.

I let it all be, and it sucked. But it only sucked for the next couple of hours or so. By the next day I was once again at peace.

I had grieved the loss of my helmet.

I still think of it sometimes. But I smile, because it served me well.

If we’re not used to grieving and we’re hit with a big loss, like the loss of a relationship, we don’t know how to respond.

“There’s more fish in the sea” your friends might say. “Fuck her” some might say in an attempt to show you some support.

But my advice to you would be: Be sad if that’s what you feel. Be angry if that’s what you feel.

Just let it be.

And it may not just be the loss of your ex-girlfriend you feel grief about. You can grieve the loss of a future together. The loss of being in a relationship.

Any loss you can grieve (and probably should).

What recent loss would you like to grieve? Let me know in the comments below.

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