There are a lot of things I can’t give advice on. I can, however, speak to experiencing loss and being uncomfortable.
I’ve lost my dad, as I shared in some of my latest writing.
I’ve lost a marriage, as I’ve opened up about in the past.
I’ve lost the house I built when I was twenty-three.
I’ve lost my director-level corporate job at thirty-four.
And, when I started my business, I lost all the financial cushion I had built up.
When it comes to loss, we’re not strangers. And with that, I’ve become very comfortable with being uncomfortable. Mind you, I don’t crave the pain, but I’ve learned to thrive when it shows up. And, with a little soul-searching, I’ve been able to find some contentment even when the discomfort and loss creep in.
Here’s what I know. If you’re uncomfortable right now or dealing with loss, there’s another season for you just around the corner. You just need to get through this season. That should be good news for many of us. On the flip-side, if you’re feeling comfortable right now, you need to be prepared for that moment when your situation changes unexpectedly.
I’m no pessimist – in my world, the glass is almost always half-full. But to live life half-full, you need to face the reality that challenges will come in and out of your life – they shouldn’t surprise or shock you. The best news? They almost always bring with them new opportunities.
With all of that in mind, here are five valuable lessons I’ve learned when it comes to experiencing loss and being comfortably uncomfortable.
First, Remember This is a Season
Focus on what I just shared above… Our lives are made up of seasons. Winter always leads to spring, and spring to summer. None of these seasons lasts forever. Remember, whatever loss you’re walking through right now, or the uncomfortable time you’re enduring, it will eventually transition into a new season. And with that new season comes new possibilities.
When I was a kid, I recall people asking me, “What are you looking forward to?” Maybe we were leaving for a trip, or it was the beginning of summertime. In either case, spending some time thinking forward was a good exercise then, and it’s valuable here as well. Amid your loss or being uncomfortable, ask yourself, “When this season ends, what am I looking forward to?” Name it, imagine it, and see it in your mind. Vision is critical when you’re experiencing challenges. Think about what the future will feel like, smell like, sound like. Focus on what you’re looking forward to.
In the middle of a challenge, gratitude can be the last place we want to go. When there is a hole in our lives, it can be so much easier to dwell on that. We’re naturally wired to focus on the negative. But whoever you are, no matter what loss or struggle you’re enduring, you have things to be thankful for. Not just one thing, but many things. We all have a long list of things that should create gratitude in our lives. What’s on your list?
Sometimes when there is a loss or we’re in an uncomfortable place, there is someone or something which is the cause – a catalyst that created our struggle. Blame can feel like an excellent place to focus your energy, but the reality is that forgiveness will free up that energy. Forgiveness will allow you to take that energy and invest it on your future rather than wasting it on your past. That’s what blame is – a waste. Forgive and step forward into what’s coming.
When we think about forgiveness, sometimes we think it only applies to other people. The reality is this… We all have some things in our lives that we need to forgive ourselves for. I talked in my last blog about forgiving myself for a missed opportunity with my dad. I also had to forgive myself for some of the places where I failed in my first marriage.
And Last… Celebrate the Good Times
Rather than focusing on the loss of my dad, I’ve learned to focus on the moments we shared together. I no longer focus on losing my marriage, but I find joy in the two beautiful kids that came from it. That house I built and lost… I smile when I think about all the memories that I have there. I don’t focus on losing that job, but I spend time thinking about all of the fantastic people met there and experiences I shared with them… as well as all the ways it helped prepare me for the life I life today. And that financial cushion that I lost… I celebrate the opportunities it provided as I’m on my way to building it back up.
Let me end with this. I don’t mean to over-simplify this or candy-coat things. Loss sucks. Being uncomfortable is, well, uncomfortable. Even as a “glass-half-full” individual, there’s no way around this. Add to that the different degrees of loss… The loss of a loved one or marriage is different from losing a job or a house. They feel different, and they leave different kinds of holes in our lives. I can tell you this, though – even if some of these seasons seem to last longer, or be more challenging to get through, they always lead to something new.
That I can promise.
Right now, a loss can feel very permanent. That uncomfortable feeling that many are facing can feel limitless. Combine those two feelings, and things can quickly become hopeless. Through this quick message and sharing some of my personal losses, my hope for today is to help you get through to the other side. Whatever season you’re in, the next season is coming, even if it’s approaching much slower than you would like. Hang in there, think about some of the things I shared above, and look for ways to shift your perspective as you walk through your own loss and uncomfortable moments.
Loss, the uncomfortable moments, and challenges are meant to be shared. We get through them easier with a little help and encouragement. Join me here and we’ll walk life’s paths together. Subscribe Now