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.Tags: grief, hope