How to release loss
Loss or grief is one of the three primary emotions – anger and fear are the other two. You may reduce your chances of loss, but you will lose. Relationships change, people die, change happens. You can try to live a monastic life, but loss will find you. You can attempt to insulate yourself from feeling the loss, but loss will catch up with you.
As you probably know, the pain of loss dissolves away as you feel the pain and then release it. As an aside, much of the charge around a particular loss might be the energy or emotions associated with an older loss that was not fully experienced or released.
The secret to dealing with loss is to just feel it. Surrendering into the despair of a loss is scary. It is its own Whole Adventure where at the center of the downward spiral is a place of freedom. I know from my surrenderings that after the sobbing, I get to a place where the stillness of peace shows up. The journey down to this grace isn’t pleasurable, but the purity of its innocence is exquisite.
When you allow yourself to travel this journey, you are purging yourself of the old pain that held you back. If you’re like me, you hold back with the fear of loss. When much of the old loss is released and you’ve traveled this journey a few times, that fear – if it’s there – doesn’t take you out. You learned that you will do more than survive; you will come out the other end more whole. You will become an emotional athlete who just experienced an intense training session.
You can have mini, immediate releases by just breathing. When you hold your breath, you hold on to the pain. When you relax to inhale and exhale naturally, you release. When you’re sobbing, feeling and releasing, you’re breathing. The converse is also true, when you breathe you will feel – that’s why we often don’t breathe.
How regret and loss are linked
Regret is the remorse you feel for your action or lack of action. The regret might grow into shame or guilt. In hindsight, you judge yourself for what you did or didn’t do.
Regrets often are linked to loss. When you lose something or someone, you may regret your actions. Until the loss occurred, regret didn’t exist. The loss makes you painfully aware of the consequences of your actions. It is one thing to lose a partner you loved, it is another to lose him or her because you cheated. An infidelity is an action you may not want to repeat, but when that act produces the loss of a precious relationship then there is huge regret.
Obviously, if you don’t want to feel the pain of the regret, don’t have an affair. Regrets get tricky because the little ones add up. If that same relationship breaks up not for infidelity, but because it just isn’t working out – then what do you regret? Was it all those little feelings you never expressed? Was it not spending more time with your partner? What was it?
To avoid regrets, make different choices. I assert that in those moments when you chose not to express, some part of you felt the urge to express, but another part said no. After the fact, you regretted not speaking, but it wasn’t that you didn’t know or feel. It is that you didn’t speak. You chose to not allow those feelings to have a voice, your head came in to overrule. You told yourself it wasn’t worth speaking out, or it was just a little thing, or that you would look stupid.
You weren’t fully present to your our feeling and needs. That means you weren’t accepting those subtle, but cumulatively significant awarenesses. Eventually you created a pattern of shutting down and you convinced yourself these feelings and wants weren’t important. Yet, you discovered if they were important when the loss occurred. When someone walks out because you’re not there, then you have loss and regret.
You start questioning yourself about what would have happened if you had been. The pain of loss, interwoven with the pain of regret will make the pain more intense and entangled.
How to avoid regret
Here are some ways you can avoid or at least mitigate your regrets:
- Slow down, breathe
- Feel what is happening, listen to those subtle feelings, wants and voices
- Accept your experience
- Express what you are experiencing
- Create a new pattern out of speaking your truth with words and actions
Ask yourself, would I rather experience the difficulty of expressing what I am experiencing, or would I rather experience the regret from not being present and express it sometime in the future. I trust that you can learn to deal with the chaos of expressing and make your choice even simpler. Then the question becomes, what’s holding you back? The answer usually comes back to a fear of loss. This puts you back to allowing the feeling of loss, even as a possibility as you speak your truth.
Addendum: check out – It Felt Right at the Time for more on regrets