How to Deal With the Pain of Loss

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Death is part of life, but in Western cultures especially, this is not something we choose to dwell on or prepare for. We have created an environment for ourselves in which much pain, suffering and drama exists around loss in any form, be it loss through death, or a break up. The feelings and emotion of loss are intense and cannot be swept under the carpet. After all we are sentient beings. In the midst of extreme emotions, we often find ourselves asking how to deal with the pain of loss.

We All Suffer Pain and Loss

It is ignorant and arrogant to believe that having material wealth and possessions shelters a person from loss. The pain of heartache or the grief of losing a loved one affects every person on this planet. None of us is exempt.

How we react or better yet how we respond determines how we will come through the pain.

You may find 11 Hard Things to Remember When You Feel Like Giving Up interesting.

Time Does Not Heal

One of the greatest lies we tell ourselves is that time heals. This is not true because time is an illusion, a construct that we’ve created for ourselves to make sense of our existence.

With the passage of time (or the illusion thereof), we create a certain amount of distance between our pain and ourselves. We pass specific milestones such as the first birthday after, the first holiday after, the first Valentine’s Day after. These milestones help to guide us to the next one and with each milestone passed it appears as if the pain has eased up.

The wikiHow On How To Cope with Pain and Loss

wikiHow offers some excellent insights how to cope with pain and loss. Some of their points are as follows:

Weathering Grief
  1. Face the loss.
  2. Let your pain
  3. Share your feelingswith others
  4. Distance yourself from people who aren’t compassionate.
  5. Harbour no regrets
  6. Save things that remind you of your loved one.
  7. Get help.
Working Towards Happiness
  1. Shift the focus away from sadness.
  2. Distract yourself
  3. Find delight in beautiful days.
  4. Reclaim the idea of what you’ve lost
  5. Spend time with good people.
  6. Don’t fake happiness.
  7. Allow time to heal.
  8. Don’t second-guess your happiness.

You can read the whole article here.

While there strategies offered by wikiHow are highly beneficial, I would like to share another thought with you.

I saw this brilliant poem from L.R. Knost that I’d like to share with you.

The Power of Intention

For those who have read my writings or my book Letters from The Way you will know how passionately I believe in exercising the power of choice in our lives and living with intention.

Intention is so powerful because it embodies everything within us that is conscious, aware, and awake.

When we are grieving or suffering from the pain of a different loss, we are not always conscious, aware or awake.

In fact, our bodies protect us in moments of extreme stress and shut down various functions associated with long-term care. This enables us to deal with the trauma we are facing and for many these effects can last for a prolonged period.

You may be wondering why I would suggest that using the power of intention is a way to deal with the pain of loss. It is because intention allows us to exercise our choice and in exercising choice, we take ownership of our lives.

Yes, our intentions are more energetically dynamic and powerful when we are not experiencing trauma, however this does not mean that when traumatised we cannot be intentional.

When we are dealing with the pain of loss, we often feel devastated, disempowered and helpless. The sense that our lives do not belong to us and life is a cruel game can be overwhelming. However, it is important to remember while these feelings are very real it is our choice how we respond.

Examples of Intensions to Make

Through the power of intention, we can move our lives forward each day, or sometimes moment by moment, in some way.

We can set small intentions and then take actions that align with those intentions. Without action, our lives do not move forward. While it is crucial to acknowledge that as with setting intentions, taking action can be excruciating however, this is when we need to practice grace and compassion with ourselves and meet ourselves where we are at, not where we think we should be.

Here are some intentions we can set for ourselves:

  1. Today I will get out of bed, get dressed, and leave the house even if for a short time.
  2. When I am overwhelmed by sadness, I will remember to stop and just breathe.
  3. I will be open to receiving the kindness of others.
  4. When my heart stops from sadness, I won’t be ashamed to cry.
  5. Today I will take one action that brings me joy.
  6. I am choosing forgiveness today
  7. I will love again.
  8. Today I will heal a little more.
  9. I shall be whole again.

It is important to remember that you do not have to set lifetime intentions at this time. You need to set intentions that will help you move forward in some small way.

If you were to break your foot today, it would not be wise for you to play sport in two weeks because it brings you joy or because you hate being immobile. This will only perpetuate acute problems in future. The same is true when we are emotionally, mentally, and spiritually broken.

Every wound needs healing. Although pain is often all consuming, many of us wish to escape it or overcome it. This may appear as a shortcut but when healing oneself there are no shortcuts.

So create the space you need for healing while being intentional. In our greatest pain, darkness appears at its darkest, but darkness is not eternal. Even in darkness there is always light.

To your wholeness

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Laura - 4 years ago

Choice is so powerful. I also have the intention to name at least 1 thing that I’m grateful for each day. That reminds me that nothing is all one thing & I can be sad and grateful at the same time.

    Angela Barnard - 4 years ago

    Laura you are so right. It is quite possible to feel seemingly opposing feelings and still live in harmony with ourselves. It makes it a bit easier when we are intentional

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