Some weeks it can feel as though we are riddled with misfortune. On Monday, you lost your favorite earring. Tuesday, you strained your back. On Wednesday, your partner dumped you and on Thursday, your dog ran away
Both minor and major, experiencing grief is an everyday occurrence in our lives. It might sound counterproductive to embrace grief but, in doing so, it can help you grow stronger, keener and develop a more positive association with change.
When We Think of Loss, We Often Think of Major Traumas Such As:
- serious illness
- death of a loved one
- natural disaster
- loss of job
But experiences of loss and grief also occur daily on a much smaller scale.
A Daily Form of Loss Might Look Like:
- a broken or lost item of importance
- a missing pet
- losing a sports game
- a minor physical injury that prevents us from completing our work
- a passing comment from a friend, family, or roommate.
We don’t often put much stock in these minor experiences of grief. Yet, they are moments for us to look inward and reflect on our experience. Instead, when we come across daily examples of loss, we are annoyed and distressed, often considering our whole day thrown off or ruined.
However, think of it in this particular framework: Just as we strengthen our muscles by visiting the gym on a regular basis, frequent occurrences of loss help strengthen our emotional tolerance.
Daily Loss Makes Us Stronger… and Smarter
When we pay attention to the circumstances of certain types of loss, we gain better knowledge about how to avoid those types of loss in the future. It is easy to blame our grief (big and small) on bad luck, but sometimes, our actions play a notable role in the severity of that loss. Taking account of each loss will keep you from making the same mistakes in the future. We sometimes call it the school of life.
Losing Often Helps Strengthen Our Appreciation of Life
You never know what you got until it’s gone. Daily encounters with loss help us better appreciate what we have and the various joys of life. If we never knew loss, we would never be able to fully grasp the value of the people, things, and opportunities that surround us.
Loss Can Make Us More Emotionally Aware and Empathetic
Loss often brings people closer together. We can think of this type of empathy on a large scale such as terrorism or war, but we also express compassion for others every day without realizing it. Almost all of us (and if you haven’t, I envy you) have lost a pet. When we go to work the next day and tell others about our loss, they often understand that pain and we begin to share a closeness with that other person. Loss helps us connect with the humanity in others.
Recurring Loss Keeps Life Fluid and Prepares Us For Change
When we are too comfortable in our lives, we miss or resist opportunities for change. Every time we experience loss, we are forced to accept the changes that follow. This conditioning makes us braver and gives us the needed willingness to embrace change.
To Lose Routinely Develops Emotional Toughness
Without daily loss, endurance wanes. Suffering loss strengthens our emotional stamina. We can tackle more significant problems with better emotional discernment when we learn how to handle and react to various types of loss over time. Don’t look at the daily sufferings of loss as a burden but rather a gift that prepares us for greater loss and deeper growth.
Loss and the grief process can foster insight and emotional perceptiveness
Daily examples of loss make our senses keener. When we know grief and loss intimately, we can better identify in others the pain of loss. In doing so, we are able to understand someone else’s behavior and react accordingly. This process also helps us better understand our own reactions such suffering. Navigation of each loss highlights our strengths and weaknesses, which can lead us to make smarter and healthier decisions in future moments of crisis.
It is often difficult to embrace our daily sufferings of grief, big and small. We don’t want to do it or bear it. We may try to brace against them or hide from them.
However, if we begin to reorient our relationship towards everyday occurrences of loss, to see them and accept them, we might better prepare to face them well. Then, we set ourselves up for life’s more poignant moments of loss. We can honor and appreciate them as teachable moments and even joyous meaning found within them–and in our lives– all the more.