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We Each Feel Loss Differently

How we experience loss depends on how we experience life.

In January 2009, a billionaire business mogul – then the 94th wealthiest person on the planet – committed suicide.  Why?  Because of a huge loss of wealth.  His wealth plummeted from $12.8 billion at the end of 2007 to $9.2 billion at the end of 2008.  That’s right, he was still a billionaire.  Evidently, a future with fewer billions was not a future he could face.  From his perspective – inside his mind – he could not go on living.

We each experience our losses in life differently. 

At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve watched Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard find meaningful lives after losing their childhood and their innocence to kidnappers.  Both women found within them the courage and the will to survive.  Today, they are using that inner strength to shape their futures.  Inside their minds, they see a good future.
The same is true for Katrina survivors, the Recession survivors, cancer survivors and warriors who’ve returned without all their body parts.  We respond to our losses much the way we respond to our daily life.  Our glasses are either half-full or half empty.  We may or may not have the will to accept and move on.

Loss can come quickly or slowly. 

Loss that comes quickly steals in and out so rapidly that it’s almost hard to believe anything happened.  It may take time for our loss to become real.  Sudden loss is surprising.  Tornados, car crashes and even the demise of Lehman Brothers happened in an instant.  Loss came, claimed its victims and left – all in moments.

Other loss takes its time.  Whether your business is slowly evaporating or your loved one is courageously battling a dreaded disease, you experience the loss day after day after day.  It takes a nip at a time til its final conclusion. 

Loss changes us.

Whatever our loss, we are changed.  We’re changed by the loss itself as well as the way we manage our loss.  If it is a loss, then it is something we valued.  They go hand in hand.  Without value, we would not experience the sense of loss.  To experience loss means the loss is something we value; that necessarily changes us.

How we experience our losses will shape our future.

Loss causes a time of grief.  Some loss is so minimal that we merely dust ourselves off and move on.  Other loss requires absorption and time. 

Many grieve their loss and then move on to their next life chapter.  That isn’t to say they aren’t changed.  They are forever changed.   Still, they are able to process the loss, experience it fully and then move on.  Naturally, the process happens over time.
Some who face loss and grief experience it as a barrier.  It holds them back from moving on fully no matter how much time passes.

Generally, our personal perspective, the one that has been with us throughout our life, is a guide to how we manage our losses.  On the other hand, loss can strike a chord that leads us to change, to experience life anew – changed yet surprisingly strong.