I’ve experienced a number of losses in the last couple of years – deaths, relationships and friendships ending… the loss of things as I once knew them. As I’ve observed myself go through these experiences, it’s brought a lot of awareness about what actually creates the pain and suffering associated with grief and loss.
The question I’d like to pose to you is: “What if grief is actually just an interesting point of view?”
In Access Consciousness® we talk about how your point of view creates your reality. The pain and suffering associated with grief and loss gets created by how you’re seeing the situation and what you’re telling yourself.
When my mother died, I kept thinking, “I’m an orphan now. I have no family. I’m all alone in the world.” Was any of this actually true? Well, yes, the truth is that I have no more immediate family but am I actually all alone? No, of course not. I have my chosen family – friends and people who care about me and have my back, and that is more than enough for me.
By giving meaning and significance to the idea of “family” and how I’m supposed to have one, and judging the fact that I don’t have any more relatives as a “bad” or "lesser-than" thing, I created more suffering for myself.
In fact, in our culture, we tend to treat death as a terrible tragedy that brings unbearable pain. Someone told me, when my mom died, “You never get over the loss of your mother.” This felt so invalidating to me, as it did not reflect my actual experience. My mother, with her extremely debilitated health and dementia, was gone long before she actually passed. It was in many ways a relief when her body finally gave out.
When we get these messages about death and loss, we form projections and expectations about what that experience will be and we then fear and dread it. For years, I was terrified to “lose” my mom because I was convinced it was an inevitable pain that I wouldn’t be able to bear. The actual experience was far different.
“The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care.” These song lyrics further reinforce to us the concept that we are supposed to feel bad when we lose someone or something and that it's even an esteemable thing, as it proves how much we cared about the person. It’s not ok to be at peace or even happy when you have a “loss;” you’re supposed to feel terrible and go through various stages of grief and suffering before maybe, someday, you'll finally be ok.
What if death or loss could actually be a celebration? In some cultures it is – with music and dancing and feasting. But when we think things like, “It’s not fair,” “My life will never be the same (and that’s bad),” or we focus on our lack of control over the events, we make ourselves feel worse.
On the other hand, resisting the sadness or other emotions can also make things worse; “What you resist persists.” By choosing to deny your feelings, or make them so wrong or bad that you resist or suppress them, you amplify the suffering. This is what I see many of my addiction clients doing when they use substances to avoid uncomfortable emotions they’ve decided they can’t handle.
What of instead of all this, we could have allowance for loss?
What if instead of calling it “loss” we called it “change?”
What if we didn’t have a resistance to change, clinging to a need to preserve the status quo?
What if we could ask ourselves, “What’s right about this that I’m not getting?” or “How can I grow from this experience?”
What if the idea that “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” is just an interesting point of view?
What else is possible here?
I have a lot more to say on this topic…Part 2 coming soon!