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Laura Berman Fortgang

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Loss: How Long Do We Mourn It?

Posted: 07/30/2012 1:29 pm

For a lot of people it has been, in one way or another, a time of loss.

So many have lost their savings, their jobs, some, their homes, and many have lost the image of who they thought they were. Loss, perceived or real, may lead to depression and hopelessness. In these times, it's hard to believe there might be something good or even better on the other side. It all seems so permanent.

Certainly for those mourning the loss of a loved one, it is. For most of us, though, the loss is a step backwards and a cry for recovery, physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. And yet, we have to mourn, too. It's the healthiest way to move on.

When we suffer a loss it hurts, and some of us will get into a funk. The hard part is figuring how long to let the funk last. We need time to adjust. We need time to be sad that things are not the way we want them to be. If we don't, and try to barrel through, the grief will show up some other way. We may start drinking too much or shirking responsibility or becoming irritable and ruining our relationships. We need time to lick our wounds.

And then...

And then, we rally. We stop focusing on who we were, what we lost and what we make it all mean. Instead, we need to start picturing a new future. The one we hope for.

Bringing in a new tomorrow is not just an exercise in positive thinking and visualization. It becomes a practice of faith, not necessarily in a religious sense. Transforming through loss and mourning into faith requires reprogramming our minds and body in a way that increases our energy. It's a physical and mental will that makes our bodies vibrate with possibility and turns us into an instrument for causing results to happen.

I know that sounds like science fiction or crazy talk, but in earnest I share with you what I've experienced and seen work. The best comparison I can make to this sensation (vibration) is when you have a tipping-point amount of a caffeinated beverage. Not so much that you shake, feel ill or invite the "crash," but that buzzy amount that makes you feel a little superhuman -- like you can live in this zone and conquer everything on your to-do list. That buzz is what this vibration feels like without the caffeine. And it is the level of energy that shatters loss and tough circumstances. It's the breakthrough in which you still know on an intellectual level that things have not changed and that there is no indication of them doing so, but you are projecting yourself beyond that into a place where you can't feel negative emotion, but instead feel faith. The belief that the next step will be the one that makes the difference is what hope is all about. It's not foolish. The loss is integrated into your story and your memory, but it no longer festers in your today. You are not triggered by it into a downward spiral. You are beyond it and creating a new tomorrow.

What does this mean to our finances, the weather patterns, the senseless loss of life in many pockets of the world, the economy, the future of your job and bank account? It means nothing different that it ever has throughout history. These aren't really new problems. They are just new to us. We have to choose how to deal with them. The human spirit is resilient and ultimately has no choice but to invest in the good to get past all this.

Be sad, mourn and feel the loss. And then get back to living. We all need you to. As Robert Frost once wrote, "The best way out, is always through."

For more by Laura Berman Fortgang, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

 

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