Five Steps to Dealing with Loss and Separation
Losing a loved one is always hard. Whether it’s because of death, a relationship ending or children leaving home. Often the feelings of despair and loneliness stay behind.
Why are these events difficult to deal with?
People tend to hold on to the beautiful and pleasant things in life. You stick to the illusion of security, even if it has become a habit or burden a long time ago.
Change is often difficult because we shy away from the unknown.
Let’s take a closer at the difficulties inherent in each of these events:
Why is death dreaded?
In our civilization, death is the end. We fear the unknown, and once death comes, we don’t know if and how life will continue.
Meanwhile, many scientific studies prove there is life after death. I myself had a near-death experience in my early childhood and as a result, I’m convinced of their proof.
Even nature gives us clues that death is not the end-
- The seed of a giant oak tree must die before it can produce a new tree.
- The caterpillar must die before the butterfly can emerge.
- In the cold winter months, nature retreats, and hibernates in order to bloom and grow again in spring.
Why should it be different with humans?
Are you staying in a toxic relationship?
Humans are creatures of habit.
Even if the relationship has been toxic for a long time, you would rather stick to what you know. It’s easier than initiating change where the future is uncertain. You would rather keep arguing and get sick, even though there may be a brighter future waiting for you once you make the change. Humans fear the unknown.
Please understand this, if a relationship is stressful, the solution does not necessarily have to be a separation. There are reasons why it is stressful, and this is the point where you need change.
- Children leaving home
Does the thought of your children leaving home make you miserable? Or, are you sad, because they left already?
When the time is right, children leave your home. They may be going abroad for a year, falling in love or becoming financially independent.
They leave the parental comfort zone to spread their wings and become self-sufficient. It’s the natural course of life and its right.
Instead of rejoicing in this milestone, many parents suffer when their children leave. They cling and make it difficult for themselves and their children to move forward in their lives.
What do these events have in common?
Separations are fundamentally difficult for humans. The more separations a person experiences, the harder it becomes to engage with other people. It feels safer to reject others rather than facing the fear of pain, grief, loneliness and other associated emotions.
What are the effects of separation?
When you fear separation and loss, you try to develop protective mechanisms against it. For example:
- you build protective walls around yourself
- you shut down your emotions
- you close your heart
- you can become physically and/or mentally sick
Sooner or later, you may be lonely.
All this is because we have learned that feelings of grief and “negative emotions” are generally bad and unwelcomed.
We are taught we always have to be happy and cheerful. But this is untrue and impossible – it is nonsense!
Feelings of grief are necessary to bring growth and healing to these events.
I would like to take a moment to point out we are emotional beings and not robots. Even if we are told feelings are not to be taken into professional life – we bring them anyway, because of who we are and how we’re made. We cannot avoid them completely.
If you are capable of deep feelings of grief, you are also capable of deep feelings of love and joy. But, if you shut yourself off emotionally, one day you will learn the painful lesson that you will end up lonely. If you build a thick wall around yourself to supposedly protect yourself from being injured, you will cut yourself off from love.
Imagine the following scene-
You are in a tower of stones. Nobody can approach you. After a while, you cannot get out either. You are locked up in your self-built prison. The result, even more separations, losses, loneliness, depression … because you have “locked” yourself away.
How do you find a solution to this problem?
1. Accept your feelings.
If the loss of a person hurts you, accept it. Do not say, “I do not care!” It’s not true; otherwise, you would behave differently. You only deny yourself and your own feelings and make your situation worse. Instead, say, “YES, it hurts that “XY” is not with me anymore”.
2. Realize your emotions can get worse before they get better.
It may sound strange, but this is good. Accept it and say “yes” to it in your mind. As you do this, you will start to feel better.
3. Accept this is not about the person who left (whether it is you or the other person – it doesn’t matter, it is still separation).
Rather, it is about what the loss of this person triggers inside of you. It’s discovering why you feel this way so you can learn about yourself and heal.
4. Dig deeper to get to the root of the problem.
Close your eyes, breath in and out deeply and ask yourself the following question, “Why does the loss of ‘XY’ cause these feelings within me?”
Some of the possible answers are:
- Fear of being lonely
- Uncertainty and fear of the future
- Being unlovable
- Feeling like you are not good enough
- Various fears such as existential fears and vague fears.
Once you have identified your feelings, affirm them by telling yourself, “Yes, I’m lonely” or “Yes, I’m unloved” or “Yes, I’m not good enough” or “Yes, I’m unprotected” or whatever the feeling is you have recognized.
Continue until you feel it’s enough. It can take half a minute or longer.
5. Let the healing take place.
Once you have finished this exercise, let it work. Distract yourself as much as possible from the topic. Stop speaking about it and try not to think about it anymore. You will see, it helps a lot.
Do you feel sad or lonely because your relationship has ended, your children have left home, a loved one has died or a friendship has broken? Or, are you afraid of entering into another relationship or getting emotionally involved with someone?
Do the above exercise and if it is not enough, and you need help, please contact me. Together we will find a way to make you happy again.
Time for New Beginnings!
Emotional Intelligence is learnable. It does not matter which level you are on!
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