A Learned Response To Loss: Time to Change The Script

I’ve found that very few people look at the emotion of grief. Typically “grief” it is associated with the emotional process following a death when women wore black and were said to “be in morning”. But it is so much more

learnedresponseGrief shows itself as anxiety, depression, sadness, pain, fear, loneliness, disappointment, frustration, stress, burnout and, even ADD. These emotions, when unresolved, are limiting your life. They hold you back from creating a new life, one of success, happiness and fulfillment. No one wants to hold on to these emotions, they don’t feel good and we all want to feel good.

In speaking with a business associate the other day, we began to formulate a list of all the experiences in life that could precipitate feelings that could come under the category of grief. Here’s what we came up with:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Death or loss of a friend
  • Death or loss of a pet
  • Loss of a job
  • Loss of financial stability
  • Loss of youth (we baby boomers)
  • Loss of health
  • A move
  • Empty nest
  • Retirement

Grief can be defined as “a burden” and it is a heavy one to carry.

We are in a time where healthcare is focusing (supposedly) on “prevention” and education. Why then are we not educating people on how to resolve one of the most common emotional experiences in life? An emotion that left un-addressed can prevent us from creating success in our businesses, our present or future relationships, and our careers. What’s the worst part? We rarely can see that it is holding us back.

So, how do you begin to work through these stagnating emotions? You look back at how, over the course of your life, you’ve been taught to deal with every experience of loss. It’s not that we’re drawing a comparison between the death of a loved one and a bicycle being stolen however, our coping skills are learned from our early life experiences. In speaking with my business associate she realized that her response to a recent break-up was the same unhelpful response she has repeated from childhood, keep busy and time heals all wounds. I too, had repeated my unhealthy response to loss learned when cookies and milk would make me “feel better”.

Are you repeating the old scripts when dealing with loss of any kind? Are they working?

© 2012 Audrey Pellicano. All Rights Reserved. Copying or reposting this content without written permission is strictly prohibited.
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