Positive Life Events and Loss

“Every great loss demands that we choose life again. We need to grieve in order to do this. The pain we have not grieved over will always stand between us and life.” Rachel Naomi Remen
We usually associate loss with negative events. Did you know that it’s possible to feel loss with positive life events as well?
Sarah had been married for a few months when she scheduled a meeting with her therapist to figure out why she was feeling sad and upset. After a little introspection she realized that she was missing the total independence she had experienced while single. Sarah was able to articulate how important this aspect of her life had been, despite her happiness at being married to her husband. She now had the tools to mourn what she was leaving behind and embrace her new identity as a married woman.
Every loss involves change. Most people are familiar with the loss inherent in death, divorce, or illness. But in reality, loss happens any time that change occurs, even “good” changes. Whatever is left behind in the change of life circumstances is experienced as a loss and may be accompanied by feelings of sadness, pain, or anger. However, because this is a result of a positive life event, the feelings of loss are often not acknowledged due to guilt or social pressure.
What happens when loss is felt but not acknowledged? These feelings that have been pushed away lie low in our psyche, waiting for the opportunity to burst out, sort of like a closed jack-in-the-box. Chances are that the feelings will break loose again, either after another loss, or when it becomes too difficult to hold them in. Our feelings are a channel for the energy within us. Blocking our feelings from being experienced blocks our energy and holds us back from moving forward.

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