What we gain when we lose

Image of the sea with the sun shining through the clouds

We aren’t taught to lose. Not at all. No matter how trivial, it seems that the art of losing has become entrenched as something so wrong, something to fear, something to avoid. Upon even contemplating the thought of losing, those unwelcome feelings of disappointment, sadness, and panic begin to circulate, accompanied by a deep sense of deflation. Perhaps it was a game we lost, a competition, a tournament. Perhaps it was a special object, something we can never replace. Perhaps it was a loved one.  

Losing somebody who meant so much to us is an ache like no other, a combination of sadness, anger, exhaustion, and denial all muddled up together, passing from one to the other and back again. It is a rollercoaster of emotions, a ride fuelled with emotional turmoil. Outburst of tears reign until our body can take it no longer, our lungs gasping for air, our heart stretched with pain. Then a sadness like no other, a cascading blanket enveloping us in darkness until ANGER interrupts, a deep, seething fire inside of us questioning, wanting answers to the heart-breaking question: but why? What should we be feeling? What shouldn’t we be feeling? Confusion. Emotional chaos. Numbness.

How is it possible then that we gain when we lose? Well, perhaps it is through such tremendous loss that we gain an appreciation of the world around us, of what we had and still have. We gain a wealth of beautiful memories we shared with our loved one, memories that can never be replaced, memories that will forever be as much a part of us as they are of the person we lost. We gain an understanding of time like never before, an appreciation that as time progresses, the emotional turmoil will settle, that we will find clarity and tranquillity again. That time must never, ever be taken for granted and so we make every minute count, filling each day with happiness and spreading kindness everywhere we go.

We gain a sense of adventure, a fuelled desire to travel, to take risks, to go on journeys into the unknown, to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. We gain personal growth, learning, discovering, developing, connecting. We gain an inner strength beyond belief that we never knew we had within us, a resilience stronger than any adversity. We gain bravery, an incredible, sensational understanding of what it means to be brave, what it means to keep going, to keep chasing after our dreams, to keep moving forwards one little step at a time. We gain hope. Hope of better days when our coffee tastes like magic, when that song on the radio catches us singing along, when the warmth of the sunshine brings us a smile. Hope is the twinkle in the stars at night, the particles of happiness in the air, the promise that tomorrow will be a better day. Hope is all we have.

Losing isn’t fair. It can be deeply, horrendously, agonizingly unfair. But perhaps it is through reflecting upon our loss that we can eventually find peace once more and in doing so, perhaps we gain just as much as we lose.

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