For many of us, the ‘festive season’ is anything but festive as it reminds us of loved ones lost, or of easier, healthier times. Clinical psychologist Marc Lipshitz has written three blog posts that will help you through the grieving process. This is the third.
Willingness to face the truth of what we have lost either through death or illness and to experience the full range of our feelings is the beginning of acceptance. It is also, more often than not, the beginning of a fuller appreciation of who we are and what we are capable of becoming because grief causes us to look inwards and question.
People who are able to confront and understand their feelings about loss discover in the process that they are more resilient than they had imagined themselves to be. The more they learn about themselves, the more they seem to believe that they can get through their pain and carry on with their lives.
The search for meaning in your experience of loss can help you to endure the intense emotions of grief. Victor Frankl made an important discovery when he was interned in concentration camps: that we, as human beings, can bear immense suffering and emotional pain as long as we have a reason for doing so. By finding a reason or personal meaning in your loss, you can then find meaning in the emotional suffering of your loss. Emotional pain, as uncomfortable and distressing as it can be, provides an opportunity for personal growth- movement toward who you want to be.
Pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin of our ability to feel. To deny ourselves the ability to feel grief or to avoid the emotions of grief would be to erode the essence of our human capacity for deep, intimate love.
Pleasure and pain always come and go; they are impermanent. Personal growth and self-actualisation stay with you for the rest of your life.