When You Hurt From A Loss
"Forgetting you is not that hard to do I've done it a thousand times a day" - lyric from "A Thousand Times A Day", by Patty Loveless
Almost everyone has gone through the pain of loss of a loved one, be it through death, divorce or the other just wanting to be out of the relationship. We all need to learn lessons from our experiences.
First of all, it’s important to realize that the hurt is our own. We impose it on ourselves. We don’t hurt for the other person, whether that person is still alive or not, we hurt for ourselves. It’s a form of self pity. The hurt is real, but no one else imposes it on us.
What if the one we love takes off and leaves us, doesn’t that mean the other person hurts us? No, it means we hurt ourselves because we regret our loss.
The love was unrequited, one-sided, at least at the point the one left the other. While we wanted the relationship to continue, the other person knew it wouldn’t work. We should ask ourselves, those of us in this situation, why we would want to continue to live with someone who knew the relationship was wrong, that it just plain wouldn’t work.
Often we feel, perhaps without admitting it to ourselves, that the loss was our own fault. We acted ourselves and it wasn’t good enough. "If only I had done things differently."
No, acting yourself is the only way you can depend on being comfortable in your own skin. The other person just didn’t want that. It’s much the same as your clearly preferring one car while disliking another. The reason doesn’t have to make sense, it just is.
How sensible is it to want someone who doesn’t want you? Isn’t that just beating yourself up?
The situation may be worse with divorce. As common as divorce is these days, it isn’t just a loss. Divorce is a signal to the world of failure. Or so many perceive it.
It may be a costly failure. That kind of mistake doesn’t come cheap in some cases. Courts and lawyers don’t help. They like records, especially when they stand to gain from record settlements.
In virtually every case of divorce, it was a bad match to start with. Something was wrong and at least one of the couple refused to admit it. "Love will conquer all" works in songs and poetry, but living it through makes for slogging that most people don’t care to endure.
Despite the fact that people living today will live almost twice as long as their recent ancestors, on average, we seem to live by the adage that "Life is short, eat the dessert first." Trouble is, many of us lose our appetite for the main course once dessert is over.
Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (That idea was around for centuries before Einstein.) Is that not what a couple on their way to eventual divorce do?
Unfortunately, when it comes to primary relationships such as marriage or common law, do-overs seldom work. The success rate for second and third tries is perishingly low. Trying again usually just postpones the inevitable.
As with any major life loss or tragedy, the solution to a broken relationship is usually to find another one that will work better. There is no perfect mate or soul mate for most of us. We need to find someone who is prepared to tolerate us while we accept their faults, follies and failures. Love comes much easier when you can overlook those things in your significant other.
Getting past the death of a loved one, especially an unexpected death, can play hard on some people for many years. What causes the hurt? It’s our loss, not the end of life of a loved one. It’s like stabbing yourself hard.
Why does it hurt so much? Most of us are not emotionally or psychologically prepared for a sudden loss. It’s a personal loss we had no control over. Nothing we could have done might have prevented the death, in most cases. It’s life playing its worst on our heart.
Is there a way to lessen the pain? We can be better prepared. We can understand that we could get a phone call any day to say that anyone in our life has died unexpectedly. We can formulate a plan of what we would do if that happened. We can figure out exactly what procedures we would go through if something tragic happened to someone we love.
Will that lessen the loss? No. But it will make the hurt less severe, maybe having it impact our life for a shorter period of time. That’s the best we can do. Hurt is survivable for most of us. Science has proven that it is possible to die of a "broken heart" but few of us actually do.
We can also remember that our loved one might get a similar phone call to say that we have died suddenly. We can prepare plans for that too.
Death and loss of relationships are part of life. It’s worth remembering that emotions work like a pendulum: the farther they swing one way, the farther they are able to swing the other way. Those who suffer little from downswings in life lack the ability to have great joy when life is at its best for them.
The positive side of tragedy is that life always turns around. Maybe not fast enough to suit us most of the time, but that’s life.
Bill Allin is the author of Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for people who want to learn how to cope with life before they need those coping skills. It’s about learning life lessons before they are needed. Learn more at http://billallin.com