We’ve all experienced loss—the loss of a job, a loved one, maybe even our health. As a society, we generally view loss as a negative occurrence, and that’s no surprise! It can be a painful, scary, traumatizing, and hard to process . . . but can it also be a good thing?
Today, I’m here to share a concept that might seem a bit kooky at first: loss can be positive.
Not only can loss be positive, but if you really open yourself up to seeing a new perspective, it can even become a beneficial influence in your life.
Let’s take a look at an example from the real world:
Recently, my family adopted two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies (some people like to ease into change—clearly, my family likes to dive right in head-first). Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever raised a puppy, but it’s a challenge. And two at once . . . plus two children . . . can be VERY intense.
Here we are, dealing with house training, waking up in the middle of the night, and trying to teach these puppies a little obedience; and at the same time, we have to keep a constant eye out because our younger son is having trouble exercising any little bit of self-control around them. On top of all of that, when we picked them up from the breeder, we learned that one of them had a heart murmur.
Now, we learned pretty quickly that this can be a typical condition for this particular breed, and most of the time, they end up growing out of it within a couple of months. So, as soon as we discovered the issue, we decided to name him Lionheart so that we could surround him with positivity and treat him like a fighter. Unfortunately, though, our little guy was NOT growing out of the murmur. After several appointments over many months—far past when he would have grown out of it—the vet said that we might need to take him to a cardiologist to make sure it wasn’t a congenital defect.
At that point, we all got a little upset and started feeling down about Lionheart’s prospects. After all, a cardiologist sounds pretty serious. That night when we got home, I was hyper-focused on the future. I was thinking that this was just when everything was supposed to be getting easier: we were almost house trained, the kids were well-behaved with the pups, and we had just started letting them sleep with us, which was making night-time so much less dramatic.
Soon enough, I began noticing that I was not living in the moment at all. I was treating Lionheart with kid gloves and not having any fun with him. So, I asked myself what I would do if I knew I only had six more months with him? Would I just wait around hoping he’d get better? Would I keep holding myself back from playing him and making him happy?
In that moment, everything shifted. I realized that, whether we have six months together or six years together, the time is never unlimited—we have to enjoy whatever we’re given.
Now, I am in no way delusional—Lionheart is not a human member of our family, and we were never even sure that this was going to develop into a serious condition. Please know that I am not trying to use this example to compare my experience with anyone else’s loss of a close family member.
That said, I am using this example because it illustrates how we can use the idea of loss to benefit our lives.
No matter how young, healthy, or fit we are, we never know how long we are going to have on this earth—and that is true of every single person in your life.
When we’re busy enjoying the loving relationships in our lives, we are rarely (if ever) thinking that we had better enjoy it while we can. On the contrary, we tend to think about the future and all the wonderful things we want out of life—which is great! The reality of our mortality is destabilizing . . . so we mostly need to live life looking forward so that we’re not all constantly freaking out.
Every once in a while, however, we benefit from keeping part of our awareness on that reality because it helps us to remain present and thankful.
Think about all of the things you would do or say to your loved ones if you knew that today was the last day you’d ever see them; think about all the actions you’d take if you knew today was your last day on the planet; think about the extra patience and compassion you might have if you knew it was your last chance to give it.
If you knew you were going to lose something, would you start to see it in a new light? Would you be more thankful for it?
Why does it take losing something for us to realize how lucky we were to have it in the first place?
This is something I think about all the time—especially before my live events. In the moments before they begin, I always get a little anxious: What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t like what I have to say? What if I’m not good enough? But then, I always remember to ask myself what would happen if this was my last chance to do it.
Once I put myself in a place of “last chance, do or die,” I am inspired to give it my all: I hold nothing back; I say anything necessary to help someone, even if I think it might upset them; I give every bit of energy, focus, and love that I have available.
When you begin to live life that way, you almost develop a need for it. You take it into other areas of your life, and you see the people, places, and things around you with more presence and gratitude.
Maybe by now, you’ve started to realize that you don’t need to go through a big loss to see life this way. Those of us who have experienced a life-changing loss, however, can probably connect to this concept more easily. In fact, if you’ve gone through a loss, you may have already had moments of this mindset pop into your psyche.
The trick is to remind yourself to live with that appreciation for life every so often so that you can reap the benefits of it more regularly.
Take a moment right now, and ask yourself how you want to show up on a daily basis. Do you want to float through life in a bog, just doing whatever is necessary to get through each day? Or do you want to see the beauty in every moment, express to your loved ones how much you appreciate them, give it your all, and make every little moment count?
Loss can be a difficult experience in so many ways. But once you have worked through it, it can also inspire deep gratitude and give you a new lease on life. This is what I want for you and what I hope you are able to find with time.
If you are looking for a loving community and a support system to help you through the trying times and guide you through your journey to increased confidence, please check out my Facebook group, Confidence Warriors. This is a free online resource that provides access to like-minded people who offer their experiences, triumphs, and failures to one another as a means to edification and growth. If you need a little more support and guidance during this work, you can also check out my website, SocialConfidenceCenter.com, where you can access programs, masterminds, and several other resources to help you along the path to success.
In the meantime, please share your thoughts and comments below! Have you ever been through a loss that inspired you to live more fully? What was that moment for you, and how did it change your life? Let’s offer these experiences to one another so that we can all learn and grow together.
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.