The unpleasant is not always dangerous. I’m currently burying myself in these words by Sameera. We are just humans, they say. And we commit mistakes. We lose lots of chances and people along the way. Sometimes, we arrive at emotions we never knew existed. Before this day, I did not know that coping with grief and loss could be considered scholarly. Grief is a strong and difficult emotion. But again, the unpleasant is not always dangerous. Until I met Sameera, I did not believe it.
Coping with grief and loss…
It was our first meeting together, talking about psychology of grief, in the morning of November 8. I entered Books and Brews Coffee Shop and notice a familiar face who welcomed me, Edah. There was a seemingly good number of books on the shelves which I didn’t have the chance to check on. Only a dozen or so people were there, most were in groups. Heading towards that closed room around the corner, I told myself this class was for me. I thank Sveta of SvetRescue for hosting this session. Sveta, apart from the coffee and cookies, I thank you for you have a beautiful heart. I know this is your way of coping up with whatever situation you are in right now. But still, you chose to share it with other people so we can also benefit from it. Thank you! 🙂
Well, I look at life positively all the time. People always think that I don’t have problems at all. However, here’s one thing about myself: I feel deeply about everything. For example, I can look right into a struggling person, and would try to offer help as much as possible without him even asking. Sometimes also, I end up lonely and unaccomplished if I’m faced with helpless situations – like the case of the stray animals or failed fosters. Being a deep thinker also comes with struggles on a more personal and deeper level which most people are unaware of.
So, how does this relate with coping with grief and loss? What I’d like to say here is that grief is a natural response to a loss of someone or something. But loss doesn’t necessarily mean death only of loved ones (people or pets). It could also be loss of opportunities and chances.
“How does grief work?” Sameera asked. “Looking back, I have so much to grieve about. I don’t realize it”, she added. It was just a small audience and there’s a long pause waiting for answers till she followed up with a question, How does grief start? “Denial”, I said. When there are events that initiate grief, our initial reactions would be shock and denial. We try to resist the idea because we couldn’t process it.
Sameera also introduced to us the two levels of thinking: Level 1 which is a passive way of responding. This includes diverting our attention to other things, like watching your favorite movie on Netflix. On the other hand, Level 2, which is the ideal way to respond, includes critical thinking. “What can we do moving forward?” Most people are stuck on Level 1. They drown themselves into that event till they lose their identities and end up in depression. If only people know are aware on how to cope with an unfortunate event, that there is indeed a process, they would do things differently.
SELF PROTECTION versus SELF AWARENESS
Guilt. I know it’s not a new word. We feel that when we blame ourselves for not doing enough, for not being good enough. But, why do we really feel guilty? Is it because we are lacking? Does it always have to be really about our shortcomings? Why don’t we shift our focus from our shortcomings to our character strengths? From there, we will magnify these strengths and put them into our new role – to become what we want to be and do what needs to be done.
Moving On versus Moving Forward
There is a difference. Don’t just move on, because grief arises with moving on. And moving on means forgetting that event which initiated grief. Instead, move forward. Move forward by accepting that unfortunate event and showcasing your character strengths. Don’t let those people who don’t share the same values as yours to get the best out of you. Instead of focusing on the insecurity of what you don’t have, try to focus on the abundance of what you have.
It’s true that as we grow, we learn more. I’m thankful to be with this group of people this afternoon. I don’t live a problem-free life. Most of my problems, I try to keep and solve by myself. In every situation where I am challenged, I move forward. I see more. I do more.
Here’s my takeaway today. I hope that everyone is not stuck at being passive at coping up with unfortunate things. If one always try to battle against the failure or loss, he is always going to be unhappy, because it will always be there. Accept it. Embrace it. Learn from it. You need to find what is good and beautiful from the bad.
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Cha of littlemisadvencha is a Filipino Civil Engineer, a graduate student at a local university and a fur mom of four-legged babies. She came from General Santos City and finds traveling makes her an awesome person. She writes about her experiences to inspire and educate.