“In school, you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson.” ~ Malcolm X
Growing up, I used to wonder why we lose the people we love.
Whether we lose them to death, a breakup, or even if we separate on good terms, we’re always resisting the idea of loss. But as we grow up, we also start to realize how these losses can help us grow.
We learn that while losing someone hurts, it is also a beneficial experience. When we look back and trace what brought us here—to this moment—we can see that every experience made us who we are today.
We’re all on a spiritual path, even if we call it something different. But what does it mean to grow spiritually?
Spiritual growth means we’re developing higher awareness of the self and what’s outside of it. We realize that we are more than a body, more than mere humans having a physical experience on planet Earth.
As we grow spiritually, we move away from asking, “Why is this happening to me,” and instead shift to, “How can I benefit from what is happening for me?” We focus more on the journey and less on the destination.
When we lose someone we love, we are being given an opportunity for spiritual growth—because every external loss can lead to an internal gain.
Here are some important spiritual reminders that often hit us when we’re dealing with loss:
Be in the moment.
Every moment in life is precious, but we rarely take the time to appreciate it. Same goes for appreciating the people we love while they’re here with us.
Losing someone we love can help us cherish more moments with those around us. I am reminded of Dzongsar Khyentse‘s words on this matter: “Every relationship must end eventually, even if it is because of death. Thinking this, our appreciation for the causes and conditions that have provided each connection is heightened.”
We’re not in control.
We naturally believe we can control our experiences. When we lose someone we love, we are forced to realize that we’re not in control. And it doesn’t help to resist the outcomes life throws at us just because they’re not what we wanted.
Sooner or later, we realize that letting go of control over certain things in life means gaining power in other areas. We let life act on our behalf knowing that we might not get what we want, but we’ll certainly get what’s best for us. To relax and let things take their course is a powerful spiritual realization.
Bad things happen—or better, “things happen.”
When we first lose someone, we tell ourselves that bad things happen—loss is painful and disappointing. But after a while, we learn that things have to change, to end, for new things to arise.
Dividing the cycle into good or bad, positive or negative, only keeps us attached to the destination and not the journey. However, accepting both sides opens up a spiritual portal within us that can help us heal from heartache.
Perception. Perception. Perception.
When we lose someone we love, it’s natural to try to change outside factors and “fix” our situation. But sometimes, no matter how much effort we put into altering events, they just don’t change. Once we realize we can’t change what has happened, we can turn our focus inward.
By changing our perception, we’re able to view the loss and the situation differently. Without changing our perception, we end up walking back into pain and chaos, over and over again.
Put faith in the unknown.
Our futures are uncertain—we can’t predict how they will unfold. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to mold it into what we want before it comes. When uncertainty and loss come knocking on our door, we are given the opportunity to stop labeling outcomes as “defeat” just because they aren’t what we expected.
We stop fearing the future when we realize that it’s not against us. All we need to do is have a speck of trust for what life has in store for us. I try to look at life and loss as a jigsaw puzzle in which everything eventually falls into place.
Let if fall.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina