Losing someone you love is one of the most difficult things that one has to endure in life. We have all lost someone that we loved dearly or cared for. I lost my father when I was 12 years old and I came very close to losing my daughter to a severe health crisis when she was just 7 years old. It took a long time but I survived those extremely difficult periods of my life and have come out a stronger person on the other side.
We have all faced and will continue to face many such losses in our lives. Loss is an integral part of our human experience. In this crisis, there are many who are already suffering and there will be many many more who will suffer great losses in the immediate future.
Loss comes in many different shapes and forms. It can be in the form of losing our freedom to live life the way we would like to; the loss in terms of our ability to work and the loss of our livelihood and many other greater losses both as individuals and the world at large. Many in my country who are from the poorest sections of the society and are the most vulnerable are going to end up losing the most, whether it is their home or their livelihood, threatening their very existence.
These losses are mounting all around us and the collective pain can become unbearable at times. You may be also grieving the losses that you are facing. You may find that there is pain or tightness in your chest as you read the latest updates and news every day causing you to shut down in an effort to protect yourself. We tend to shut down when we start losing hope and are not certain about the future.
What I want to tell you is this-
your loss is no less or more than anyone else’s
there is no shame in grieving for what you have lost
there is no need to hide how you feelthere is no need to run from your thoughts, you really can’t
Instead of shutting out your pain and looking for ways to numb it, find a safe place and give yourself permission to feel your emotions. This is not to get carried or swept away by them, but learn to get in touch with them as you would with a dear friend. Learning how to hold space for difficult emotions not only to tide you over this crisis but also for when you need to later on in life is one of the greatest lessons you will ever learn. We can start by learning to label our emotions when they arise.
Label your emotions
Labelling difficult emotions helps to release their hold over us. Labelling emotions requires us to become aware of and pay attention to our body and how we are feeling in the present moment. It helps us to become curious about our thoughts, feelings and sensations even as we may be resisting what is actually happening in the present moment. This opens up space, however small, to respond to the situation in a more appropriate manner rather than simply getting swept away by the strong currents that usually accompany it.
Find your feet
If you find it difficult to disengage from your difficult emotions, you can start by finding your feet. It is a baby step towards creating space such that you are able to pay attention to how you really feel at any given moment. This becomes especially true when you are facing turbulent emotions like fear and hopelessness, despair.
“Between the stimulus and the response there is a space and in that space lies our power and freedom”– Viktor E Frankl