Growth From Loss

Posted by Harriet on

How do we grow beyond our loss?

As I wrote in my previous post, loss demands change.   We are not the same after a loss.  It’s not so much what happens to us, as it is how we respond to what happens to us.

Some of us respond with bitterness  (as I did initially after getting my daughter’s diagnosis), and we may continue playing  out this negativity throughout our lives. 

Some of us will be able to move beyond the pain with renewed ‘positiveness’ and strength; with renewed purpose and meaning, creating a new way of living. 

Viktor Frankl states, “The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity –even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life.”

Along the same line:  “Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.”

When we allow ourselves to go through the pain-  feel the painful feelings, stay with them, express them-  we eventually come through it.  It is then that we can begin to connect with our new reality and start attaching new dreams and goals to what is. 

We loosen our grip to the loss, detach from the heavy weight of grief so that we can become free to connect to our new reality.    The sadness, although still present but perhaps to a less piercing degree, moves to the background and the presence of our current life moves to the forefront.  We’re in a position to begin to reorganize our life and reinvest in the new. 

It means becoming more comfortable with the way things are rather than staying with the way things were supposed to be or the way they were. 

Creating new dreams, finding new meaning, perhaps differently than before, represents growth.   Prior concentration on our loss shifts to the building of the new present and future.  This shift can be seen as growth.  And the changes in our life can be seen as challenges ready to be met with our new-found hope and resilience.  We are then ready to work with our response to our situation- what will we make of it; is there something positive I can do with my loss/misfortune?  Can I rebuild my life with new meaning and find new joy? 

It was only when I went through my intense grieving process upon finding out Nava (my middle daughter) had  disabilities, that I was able to meet the daily challenges head-on  and do what I needed to do to help her in a productive and positive way.  I certainly needed to get rid of some of those most toxic and harmful feelings of bitterness, anger and sinking sadness.   I had to detach and let go of the dream of having that ‘normal’ child in order to be able to work well with what I had; and eventually be able to create new hopes and expectations.

It was then that I was able to get ‘nachas’  (translated from Yiddish to mean joy and pride) from all she was slowly able to learn to do.   Having some of my dark clouds shift allowed for some sunlight to seep through. And I could start to feel the good feelings.

Painful feelings are certainly re-felt at various times and milestones throughout life, but they don’t take on a life of their own and I am able to move through them fairly easily.       

My ultimate goal became that she be well adjusted with good feelings about herself, and be as independent and productive as possible; with continuous growth and progression on the top rung of the ladder of life.  

My monthly interviews exemplify this theme of growing beyond our losses, of transcending and transforming, of rebuilding and recreating new dreams , of choosing to respond to life’s adversities with ‘positiveness’ and a renewed sense of purpose; of sometimes taking our lemons and making lemonade by creating and engaging in something bigger and beyond ourselves.   Do check out some of them.  They are quite uplifting and give us some wonderful lessons on how to live well despite…. (each person’s difficulty)

What does growth mean to you?  How have your losses or difficulties shaped you?

Thank you for stopping by and reading. 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/traceydjackson Tracey Jackson

    Just what the doctor ordered. After trying to reunite with my mother, offering her love, forgiveness and asking her to do the same.giving us both a chance to start anew. She wrote to me that I was dead to her and she never wanted to know me.
    This has caused amazing pain, and I must grieve to overcome it.
    Being raised by a narcissist and usually giving them the benefit of the doubt has a price. But I was willing to move past all the pain and bitterness as it is better to live in harmony than discord. But sadly we do not share those feelings. It’s a mini death, or perhaps a big one and I will learn to live with it and give it it’s space and hopefully in time it will be more static than a piercing noise.
    As always you hit the nail on the head.
    Love your work.

    • http://rebuildyourlifecoach.wordpress.com rebuildyourlifecoach

      Hi Tracey,
      That’s got to be one of the, if not the, worst form of pain – rejection by one’s parent. I am so sorry – it is horrible. Nothing can take that away but hopefully the pain dulls as you carry on in a way that is the antithesis of your mother’s way. And anyone who knows you, knows that you live that way – being a fabulous mother and role model to your daughters. Your realness, authenticity and openness, compassion and good-naturedness are just a few of your wonderful qualities.
      Yes, it is a death whichever size you consider, mini or big. I wish for you that it become ‘more static than a piercing noise.’
      Thank you for sharing. This is what touches so many people.

  • http://gravatar.com/reflectingalife Elle

    I love your ultimate goal for your daughter Harriet ~ “that she be well adjusted with good feelings about herself, and be as independent and productive as possible”. I think it’s beautiful and I applaud you and your courage.

    • http://rebuildyourlifecoach.wordpress.com rebuildyourlifecoach

      Hi Elle,
      Thank you for coming by and for your comment.
      I appreciate your complimentary words. It seems so basic and obvious to me – like isn’t this what we all want for our kids?!
      ‘See’ you again.

  • http://www.davidstevenslifecoach.com.au personalpower4me

    Hi Harriet,
    Our ‘losses’ can be deep and they can be many…..it can hurt a lot. Our choice is to then grow from this or stagnate. We must choose growth even if moving on is tough.
    be good to yourself
    David

    • http://rebuildyourlifecoach.wordpress.com rebuildyourlifecoach

      Hi David,
      Yes, we must choose growth but it certainly can be hard. That’s the challenge – to push forward through the pain so we don’t stagnate and can eventually build a life having integrated the loss in a ‘healthy’ way.
      Thanks for sharing your thought on this.

  • http://projecttara.blogspot.com Tara

    Ironically enough, it was only when I stopped worrying about how I would (fill in the blank) and started living in the moment and looking at the immediate lesson before me, that growth came. No goals, very little planning, just feeling what I needed to without care for what someone else might think. My journey has certainly humbled me and given me a new perspective on respect, empathy and the human condition.
    I’ve really enjoyed this series, Harriet.

    • http://rebuildyourlifecoach.wordpress.com rebuildyourlifecoach

      Hi Tara,
      Mindfulness pays big dividends. Growth came out of your living in the moment and allowing yourself to Feel. That is huge.
      I’m glad you enjoyed these posts.
      Thank you for contributing and sharing your thoughts on them.

  • rita singh

    hello BRAVEHEART!….this POST is really UPLIFTING n kudos to you for dealing with the situation to THE BEST of your ABILITY…feeling the pain n then despite it MARCHING ONWARDS….your POSITIVE APPROACH is TRULY INSPIRING and ENCOURAGING…your ability to REACH OUT to people n share your experiences is COMMENDABLE…from today onwards you n your dear daughter shall be in my PRAYERS….THANKS for sharing n MOTIVATING….ADMIRATION is what i have for you…..GOD BLESS……..””””’

    • http://rebuildyourlifecoach.wordpress.com rebuildyourlifecoach

      Hi Rita,
      Thanks for coming by. Nice to ‘meet’ you. Your words warm me. Thank you for uplifting me. I hope sharing my experiences can be helpful to others going through difficulties.
      Hope to ‘see’ you again. Best to you.

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