I want to talk about loss. And resilience.
Firstly, loss. The chances are, if you are over a certain age, you’ve experienced it. Usually, it is the loss of a loved one. However, the longer I have been in clinical practice, the more I realise its universality. Loss does not distinguish between race, class or colour. It doesn’t care how much money you have in the bank and it definitely doesn’t care about your personal circumstances. It is an unapologetic human equaliser. In my clinical practice, I’ve found that no matter what the person’s story, or how they ended up in a room with a psychologist at that particular moment, usually at the core I find loss.
Loss of identity or sense of self
Loss of certainty
Loss of control
Loss of trust
Loss of direction
Loss of liberty or freedom
In times of great crisis, loss is ever present. In the immediate aftermath of loss, the lived experience of it can feel like we might never recover. Trust me, I know this feeling. With the loss, we may feel like a part of us has died too. In so many ways, the person you were before the loss has gone. But like any challenge we may face, opportunity sits alongside it.
In adversity, you get the chance to be reborn. To choose a new normal and delve deep into your pool of resources. Look closely. They are there. Deep down maybe, but there nonetheless. This brings me to resilience.
Resilience, put simply, is the strength and speed with which we respond to adversity. Many people who have experienced trauma, talk about having found greater purpose and meaning in their life afterwards. This post-traumatic growth can be transformative. But here is the best part. You don’t have to have experienced a tragedy to become more resilient. Resilience is not fixed and can be built over time. Like a muscle, it can be trained.
In these uncertain times, perhaps we would be better served strengthening our resilience and deepening our pool of resources. Rather than considering what we have lost, lets shine a light on all that we have gained.