We have or will experience grief at some point in our lives. While we may not want to experience grief, some things in life are beyond our control.
Grief can come in many ways. It can be:
- The death of someone close to us.
- The end of a close relationship or friendship.
- Suffering a major health issue.
- Experiencing a major failure that results in a significant financial loss.
- Something coming to an end like a job, business venture or project.
- Our actions causing significant pain or distress to someone else.
As grief will be something we will experience in life, knowing how to use it in a positive way is extremely valuable.
I’ve experienced my share of grief such as losing members from my extended family, personal and professional relationships coming to an end, and experiencing financial loss.
The loss of an important family member not too long ago allowed me to observe how people deal with grief. For some of my family members, it was extremely emotional and difficult to get through. For others, it was an opportunity to reconnect with people they had not seen for a long time, sometimes even years, and also remember the family member who had passed away.
For me, it was a reminder to pause and reflect on what matters most. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our day-to-day activities that we become disconnected from what is truly important to us. I used that experience to remind myself that I don’t know when my time will be up – I have to do the best I can while I’m still alive.
There will be times when I will fall and let myself down, but as long as I’m willing to get back on track and refocus on what the bigger mission of my life is, then I know I won’t have regrets when my time is up.
We can look at grief from different perspectives and use them as catalysts to improve ourselves while at the same time, improve the quality of our lives. Here are seven reminders why grief can actually make us better in everything we do.
- You will learn valuable lessons. Grief in the form of a relationship or financial loss, for example, can make us do things better when we’re in a similar situation again. Our new level of awareness and the experience we will have gained will prepare us to make better decisions so that we can create the outcomes we want.
- You will look at your relationships differently. Whenever something dramatic happens that involves other people, that is an opportunity to evaluate whether our relationships are causing us to grow or whether they are affecting our lives in a negative way. People will come into lives and also go out of our lives, so it is up to us to decide who we want to continue staying connected to.
- You will question what you are doing. One question I like to ask people is, “If you were told you had six months to live and could continue doing everything you have up until this point, would you still continue doing what you are doing now?” While it is not about determining whether what we are doing is right or wrong, it is about heightening our awareness of what matters most to us.
- You will appreciate life more. Knowing that our time on earth is limited can be a very motivating thing. This can be the turning point for us to follow our passions and live our purpose or mission in life. Every moment we have is a gift so appreciating life more is one of the best things we can do to experience happiness consistently.
- You will let go of things that are not important. It is so easy to get caught up in petty, meaningless things. When we have a significant emotional event in our lives, suddenly those trivial things do matter anymore. The question we should ask ourselves then is, “What do I want to create or experience in every given moment?’ The more we focus on what matters to us, the less attention we will give to things that do not matter.
- You will want to contribute more. Sometimes certain events in our lives causes us to help others who are going through what we are or have been through. Think of the number of people who have created not-for-profit organisations simply because they have experienced grief and did not want others to experience what they went through. When we are contributing to others, that’s when we experience true joy and fulfilment in life.
- You will value the memories and experiences you’ve had. Grief can cause us to reflect and remember things, whether it was with a person or experiences we’ve had. Every experience we’ve had was necessary for us to become the person we are meant to be. Our memories of the past can shape who we become in the future.
Grief can be difficult to get through. Our desire to have things “just the way they were” can often keep people trapped in the past. If we can use grief as a sign to pause and reflect on what we are doing in life, then we can make important changes that will make us and our lives better. We’ll be able to look at life with a whole new perspective.
Question: How else can experiencing grief help make us better?
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