Response to loss

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Grief is an overwhelming emotional response to loss, which can be expressed as anger, sorrow, anguish, despondency, mortification… to name a few. At times, it is recognizable. Yet there are many instances when ‘it’ does not resemble anything we have been led to understand – the gaiety, the risk-taking, the impassivity perhaps.

Recognizable or not, we grieve. Not only in times where through death, we lose a loved one, or the loss of a career or a home – these are obvious losses. A wise woman once told me life is about loss. In time, I have come to agree, and not in a morbid way.

While we are socially permitted to grieve for the obvious losses – in fact if we don’t or do so in an unconventional way, we would be considered odd at the least – we somehow ignore the less conspicuous yet significant losses in our lives. We are advised to count our blessings, but are we encouraged to acknowledge our losses?

Loss suffered through the passing of time, of the road not taken, from the demise of a dream or an ideal, or when you lose the appreciation for beauty and nature, when you lose your sense of self. And just because these are less obvious (perhaps others scoff at your ‘sensitivities’ should you speak of them?) do not make them any less meaningful in each of our lives. And how do we deal with these losses? Have they made you cynical, distrustful and wary? Have they made you fearful?

Grieve and know that what happens in our lives can enrich us – spiritually and emotionally – if we allow it.

The key is thus in our response. When someone abuses our trust and we lose our innocence, when we feel betrayed and we lose our faith, when the demands of life are relentless and we lose hope – how do we respond? I have no answer except this – CHOOSE a response that makes you a more compassionate person, brings you closer to fulfilling your potential, lifts you up, expands your awareness.

So I share with you a much-loved quote, from an inspirational man who survived war atrocities through his choice of response. This is a quote I return to time and time again, when I am uncertain of the choice to make, when I sense dis-ease and not know why, and so I look to a vision of ‘growth and freedom’.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”                    Victor E Frankl

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