by Kathryn Sandford
Losing someone you love through changes such as: death, divorce, relationship demise, or miscarriage, is a painful and emotional experience. The experience of loss is a life challenge that happens to all of us and for most of us, it happens more than once in our lives.
I remember the first time, in my early twenties when I lost someone I loved. He decided that he didn’t love me and that we needed to move on. I was devastated and didn’t know how I would survive the pain.
I did survive and in fact as a result of that break up I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I went and lived overseas for number of years. Though I didn’t think so at the time he ended up doing me a big favor.
The loss of my parents was another life test that threw my world into chaos and pain. I remember thinking the same thing as I did when I was going through my relationship break up in my early twenties, “How am I ever going to survive this pain?”
Well, I have survived and as a result of these losses in my life I have become emotionally stronger and resilient. I believe that it is these life challenges that provide us with the opportunity for personal growth and to learn some of the most important lessons in our lives.
“In school you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson” Malcolm X
I love the quote from Malcolm X as he explains so well how we are taught our lessons of life – we have to be tested to learn the lesson. Losing someone you love is a test of life and you have no control over the challenges that life throws at you. What you do have however is the power to control your response to these life challenges.
Here are 7 valuable things that I learned as a result of losing people in my life who I have loved deeply.
I would like to share these learnings with you to encourage you, to live your life to the fullest, to chase your dreams, to deal with the curveballs that life throws at you, to seize the moment and to treasure the gifts of life, love and laughter.
1.Live Your Life to the Fullest As It Can Change In A Blink Of An Eye
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable”. Helen Keller
My father and mother died within 3 days of each other and when they died my life changed in a blink of an eye. From from that day I realized just how precious life is. How important it is to live in the moment, to be present and not to wish away your life.
If you have a dream but you are too scared to go for it –don’t wait for the right time, as it never is the right time, just do it. Find a way and go for it. My priorities also changed and I realised that I needed to get clear about what was important in my life. For me it was my family and my friends who were most important in my life. Following my dream, to be a writer, speaker and coach became the most important thing for me to do in my life. I knew that I had to follow my dream because I didn’t want to look back at my life with regret and wished I had given it a go.
Life is too short to have regrets! Embrace life, take the time to make memories and cherish the moments you spend with the people you love. Get your priorities sorted and know what is important to you.
2. Appreciate And Show Gratitude As People Matter More Than Anything
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance” Eckhart Tolle
The people you surround yourself with – your family and friends is your treasure chest. They are more important than all the money, the power or fame, the cars, the clothes, the houses, the boats, or the overseas holidays you may have.
All these material things you gather, your fortune and your power are easy to get and easy to lose. The people in your life who love and support you, once you lose them you cant get them back.
Always show your love and appreciate those you love in your life. Remember that the people you touch with your appreciation and gratitude will bring great joy and enrichment to your life. Don’t be afraid to show your love and affection to people. Take the time to make the phone call to a friend you haven’t seen in ages. Don’t let your pain and despair isolate you from people. Make the time to nurture and grow your relationships. You need the energy of others to help you heal.
I realized this lesson very early on in my journey. I could not have survived the loss of my parents without my family and my friends.
3. Healing Is A Process – get to know the process and don’t rush it!
“And so I wait. I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to me feet once again – so that I can start a new path, my own path, the one that will make me whole again.” ― Jan Canfield
Loss hurts. We may feel anger at being left by the person we love, we may feel despair, sadness and be fearful about our future.
What we are feeling is very real and you need to go through the process and feel your grief. Accept that it takes time to heal and that here is light at the end of the dark tunnel. You just have to get through the dark tunnel. You can bury pain deep within you and think that you are coping and you can get on with life. But, I guarantee that if you don’t acknowledge and deal with your emotional pain, it will find you. The hidden layers of pain will erupt back into your life with such force you won’t know what has hit you.
Another important part I believe of the healing process is Forgiveness. This is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you have been rejected and and betrayed by the one you love.
The negative thoughts that come with your anger and pain are soul destroying. The more you hate and despise the person you have lost, the less likely it is that you will heal.
Forgiveness does not happen overnight. It is a process that takes time and patience. However, when you free yourself of negative thoughts and behaviours, you become more empowered to strive to live a life that is full of hope, optimism and happiness.
Always be kind to yourself. It took me a long time to learn to be kind to me and to make time for me. If I had spent more time looking after me, sharing my pain rather than trying to be strong all the time – my healing would have been a less bumpier journey.
4. Use Your Power Of Choice – choose to live a happy life and choose to be hopeful.
“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” Dalai Lama XIV
We cannot control the bad things that happen in our life, however we can control our reactions to these challenging events through our Power of Choice.
Essentially how we live our life is determined by how we choose to live it.
When we step into using our Power of Choice we are actively seeking solutions to deal with the challenges we have to face. Using our power of choice empowers us to recognise how we can move forward
.To move forward we maintain our hope for a better future and with hope comes a happy life. A very simple recipe to life however we can sabotage this recipe to living a happy life by not trusting ourselves to step out of our comfort zone.
Choose to turn your loss and pain into a life learning journey, where the result for you is, you have become stronger, more empowered and live a more enriched life.
5. Find You and Your Purpose in Life
“When you lose something in your life, stop thinking it’s a loss for you… it is a gift you have been given so you can get on the right path to where you are meant to go, not to where you think you should have gone” Suze Orman
Each time I have lost someone I loved either in death or a relationship break I have learned so much about me.
For me, having a life purpose gives my life meaning. Don’t waste your energy on what is not important. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. Don’t be overwhelmed by the journey to find your purpose in life – it is a big journey.
Make a plan and take action – don’t give up. Set realistic and achievable goals and take one step at a time.
Celebrate your successes – each time you achieve your goal no matter how small or how big, celebrate it and share your successes with those you love. Happiness comes when you know what you are doing, believe in what you are doing and love what you are doing.
The pursuit of your happiness is all about you living a meaningful life and when you find your purpose in life, you increase your happiness by 200 percent.
6. Don’t Let Your Past Rule Your LIfe Now And In The Future
“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the future” Jan Glidewell
Your past is your opportunity to learn the lessons you need to deal with your present life.
Let go of your regrets in life, make peace with your past, accept it and move on. Look for opportunities for self-discovery and learn how to trust and believe in you.
You are not what happened in your past, you are whom you choose to be now and in your future. Become the strong empowered resilient person you desire to be. The person who looks forward to the future and is living a happy fulfilled life.
7. Don’t Run Away From Life – stay strong and embrace its unpredictability.
“Running away from your problems is a race you will never win, so just face them head on, and overcome them.” – Unknown
Life is a strange and amazing journey, full of painful experiences and beauty. Running away from the challenges life presents to us is not the answer to dealing with life. When you run away the only place you can go is nowhere!
The pain, the discomfort and the challenges of life will follow you where ever you go. It is ok to fall apart for a little while but only for a little while.
Unpredictable hardships in life are inevitable and when we overcome these hardships and meet them head on – we grow stronger, become more resilient and our life flourishes. Spend time on you, developing your strength and your resilience. Get prepared for life and be adaptable and flexible
. Remember that everything that happens to you is a life lesson – embrace life and never forget how precious the moments in life are.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen”. Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.
After 3 redundancies in 18 months I have realised that now is my time and so I have committed 2014 to embarking on my journey of reinvention, following my dream to be a writer, speaker and coach. Through my blog.