5 Steps to Heal From a Loss
Throughout the course of our lives it is common that we find ourselves facing many losses. Healing from a loss is a lesson that all of us have to face sooner or later. The problem is when we refuse to accept that in life, loss is inevitable and necessary for our personal growth.
When we suffer great losses, we put all our energy into what we lose. We don’t see the other side and recognize that what has been lost was, for a time, present in our lives and has had a special value.
Every loss we suffer gives us an experience to cope with more strength and wisdom.
Experiencing a significant loss such as the death of someone special, a love that walks away, ending a friendship, etc. leaves us in a state of helplessness, with a big void. We can feel sadness, anger, fear and emotional ups and downs. It is a state of mourning each person carries out in his or her own personal way.
Healing from a loss is a complex process because returning to wholeness requires going through many ups and downs, as if you were on a roller coaster.
When we open to acceptance, we are suddenly submerged in anguish and despair. We take a step forward and then move back. And this is how we end up being healed, feeling the entire process without blocking ourselves.
1. Respecting our process of healing from a loss
Each person experiences loss in a different way, with their own rhythm and in their own way. Denial is part of this process and it serves to protect us from what we are not prepared to face.
Many people believe they are cold and do not understand why they are not aware of their feelings when facing big losses. These emotions and feelings are stored since they involve a lot of pain, and only let themselves be felt when we are prepared to deal with and face them, which could take years.
This is common in children and adolescents who are not able to feel these strong feelings until they become adults and are prepared. That’s when everything emerges.
“We cannot escape the past. The suffering of the past is usually suspended until we are ready to uncover it. Sometimes, new losses are the spark of the old. And it often happens that we do not feel the loss until later in life, when we suffer another loss.”
-Elisabeth Kübler Ross-
2. The pain is always personal
No one can tell us how to heal a loss we have experienced. As much as I try to find answers in others, it is only within ourselves that we can find the process of how to heal our loss.
And this process requires its own time. It is never too slow or too fast, as long as we move forward in our lives and don’t get ourselves stuck will we be able to heal our wound.
“We often inadvertently recreate our losses by trying to resolve them, improve them and finally heal. If the loss has created wounds, we may find ways to protect against it: we distance ourselves, we deny it, we save others, we help them heal their wounds to not feel our own, and we become so self-sufficient that we never need anything from anybody.”
-Elisabeth Kübler Ross-
3. We cannot protect ourselves from new losses
When we try to protect ourselves from new losses, we are provoking them in an unconscious way. Having suffered losses and going through the very difficult process, we may want to protect ourselves from them. We protect ourselves by creating a shield for ourselves to prevent the suffering that we have gone through before. However, this is not possible because moving away from what we do not want to lose is a loss in itself.
4. The way out of pain is through the pain itself
This is an essential way to heal a loss. We cannot avoid the pain and emotions that the loss causes us. When we are prepared to face the loss, we will feel the pain involved and trying to avoid these feelings will only keeps us in our suffering. Loss means pain, it makes us authentic and upright people, teaching us to value the things that really matter.
5. The love we have given and felt are never lost
What really matters is not lost. We carry with us what we have experienced and felt. It has transformed us and made us who we are. That is why it makes no sense trying to avoid any experience for fear of loss. Because the only thing we bring with us is what we have felt.
“It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved.”