Loss throws us into a world of unknown emotions, some of which we may never have experienced before. Understanding these emotions can be a key factor in transforming through loss. Yet it can be hard to accept some feelings. It requires us to be brutally honest with ourselves and acknowledge that there are no right or wrong emotions. If we do not acknowledge those emotions, however, they stay forever locked within us, becoming a burden that limits our ability to truly live.

The common emotions usually listed are: disbelief, guilt, fear, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Yet I want to look at more positive emotions such as joy, love, laughter, gratitude, curiosity, empathy, inspiration, enthusiasm, and resilience. These emotions are not commonly associated with loss but can be experienced nevertheless and by actively drawing them into our lives, we can achieve so much more from our experience and make our journey easier.

We can experience joy that what we have lost is no longer in our life. It can free us to explore alternative paths in our life. Alternatively, we can experience joy for the chapter in our lives that has just ended with this loss. We can appreciate the good moments that allowed us to grow as individuals before our loss.

By remembering the love we had for what we have lost, we are reminded that we are capable of loving, and of loving deeply. It also helps us remember how to value things. This can help us become a better person, able to appreciate what we have in the present.

This can help us remember to laugh. Laughter is a great therapy for rejuvenating the soul. It makes us younger inside.

We can experience gratitude for our experience — for what we had before our loss and for what we are learning now because of it. This helps us grow even more as a person.

Curiosity can lead to the desire to know more about our experience. We can learn more, which in turn can help us understand our loss better.

It can also help us have empathy for other people in similar situations. We can share our experiences, know we are not alone and not only help ourselves but help others too. Think about all the support groups that exist.

This can also lead us to be inspired. We can create something amazing from our loss. This could not only change our lives but maybe even indirectly or directly the lives of others. Mothers Against Drink Driving is one such organisation that was created from loss.

All of this creates resilience within us that gives us strength to continue on despite our loss. Not only can exploring positive emotions make our journey through loss more bearable, it can help us deal with future challenges. After all, without the experience of both positive and negative emotions, we are merely half living, unable to fully appreciate what it is to be human and alive.

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Tabitha Jayne

Tabitha Jayne is a leading expert in the field of grief and growth coaching, having first developed an interest in the topic following the sudden death of her younger brother. The founder of “Transform Grief. Live Fully. Thrive Loss” coaching and workshops, Tabitha is also the creator of “Tree of Transformation”, a five-step process that helps individuals fully let go of grief and transform loss into a lasting legacy that positively impacts both themselves and the world. Her latest book is Thriving Loss: Move beyond grief to a place of peace, passion and purpose. She is also a contributing author in Open to Hope: Inspirational stories of healing after loss and has presented on The Transformative Power of Nature in Grief and Loss at the International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society and the ADEC Annual Conference. She is also the Head Coach of Grief & Growth Coaching at the International Coach Academy. She says, “The death of my brother was the most profound experience and loss in my life. It made me realise that life is too short and challenged me to transform my own life into something that I was proud of. Despite all the pain and anguish, all the tears and hurt, my brother dying is one of the best things that happened to me. Peter motived me to learn to live life fully both as tribute to him and to gain meaning from tragedy.” Tabitha is a Certified Professional Coach from the International Coach Academy and an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation. Her academic background is in Psychology with a BSc (Hons) from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh where she conducted research into “Attachment and the Type of Loss Experienced by the Bereaved in Continuing Bonds”. She is currently completing a M.S. in Applied Ecopsychology and Coaching in Grief and Growth with Project NatureConnect, The Institute of Global Education. Prior to founding ‘Transform Grief. Live Fully. Thrive Loss’ and working with clients worldwide helping them to live more and grieve less, Tabitha was the co-founder and director of Pedro Project, a non-profit organization which ran for 6 years providing information, advice and support to help bereaved young people. During this time she was a finalist in the Everywoman 2004 awards as well as Cosmopolitan´s Fun, Fearless Female 2006 Awards. She was also featured in The Sun, The Sunday Post Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Edinburgh Evening News and on local and regional radio as well as in the Channel 4 documentary for young adults entitled “Losing You” Get your free audio of the Introduction and Chapter One of Thriving Loss: Move beyond grief to a place of peace, passion and purpose at www.tabithajayne.com

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