When we are going through a loss of anyone or anything, it’s difficult to allow ourselves to move forward. Usually partly, because we don’t want to lose the related feelings and memories.
That said, I think that most all loss no matter what the situation, is essentially the loss of “what was.”
So looking at loss that way, most life transitions we go through involve loss, right?
Sometimes transitions can be a positive thing, like the situation of losing 80lbs.
However all things require you to operate differently moving forward.
Our memories are what we remember from our past.
But even more than that, they are what our brain wants to remember. They are the moments that had some significance to us at some point.
Our brain picks and chooses what it remembers and what it does not. It is our perception of reality.
Our perception is really our just our reality. So now let’s go back to talking about loss and experiencing loss or going through a tough transition.
When we don’t have that person, environment, situation or object around us (that we lost in our lives i.e. death of a loved one, coping with a breakup, etc.), or in our view, we are left with a blank canvas for others to start painting their perception of what was and what will come. We are also left to start creating our new perceptions.
Good, bad or neutral, everyone has their own values, views, judgements and opinions. These are the building blocks that they use to create their perceptions.
It’s important to remember that as humans we may seek validation, advice, or even opinions from others in our life that matter to us. But we must not to rely on what helpful (or not) pieces of advice they give to create our own happiness and positive change. We need to find it in ourselves.
Although we may find our tribe, you know, those people that just get us… we still all have our own history that (like it or not) leaves us all viewing even generic situations through our own colored glasses (not always rosey.)
When we experience loss- we experience an empty space. That space opens up room for others to start to place their views in there. What we used to perceive through our own eyes colored by our values, views, judgements and probably with a generally a positive viewpoint is now open for people to place their potentially negative views, personal judgements, opinions and personal motives.
If we are trying to keep a memory alive by talking with others, like it or not we will get their views of it, directly or indirectly.
I read this somewhere recently:
“The first thing you should know about me is that I’m not you. Then we will get along just fine.”
So, that saying can be interpreted two ways…
1. You want others to realize that you see your life through your eyes and that you have no desire to see it through their cloudy views or judgements.
2. For you to say out loud that you realize that no one will really be able to understand something as complete as you do. No one will see something fully through your eyes either, since they are not you. (I know… poor them right!? 😉
People often tend to project their thoughts and feelings on others. Most of the time, simply trying to be helpful, relate, or show empathy to what you are going through.
Here’s the important thing you need to remember about talking to others after a loss or during tough transitions:
Psychological Projection is a defense mechanism. It is a defense mechanism (I will say it again) people subconsciously employ in order to cope with different feelings or emotions. It involves someone projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than dealing with their own unwanted feelings.
Often when we have struggles in our lives, when we may need support the most, the true colors of those around us shine through like the sun on a hot St. Pete summer day!
If someone received benefits for supporting you, it would make sense that they would try to continue to do that. Right? When those benefits to them are no longer there or those benefits are decreased, their support may also decrease.
Don’t worry. It’s not all dreary. Times like these also show us how many positive supports we have in our lives and/or lead us to the right supports for an improved future.
We have all lived our own life, resulting in our own views and opinions, thoughts and feelings. Some people become jaded or resentful in certain areas. Others learn to grow positively from these experiences.
YOU have a choice here! You don’t have to turn into someone with negative views. You can be and think and feel however you want.
It is ok for you choose to focus more on the positive side and be happy while someone else may choose to focus more on the struggle, often resulting in not being so happy, does not mean that you have to think or feel or see things how they do.
We’re all struggling with something.. Even me.
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a little treat (my perception of a “treat” of course!;) I’ll share a little personal story with you on how I’ve had to cope with this in my life recently.
My step-dad (since I was 5 y/o) has Parkinsons. Due to needing 24 hour care, he had to leave my child-hood home and be put in a Memory Care Unit (basically lock-down central) within an Assisted Living Facility.
My parents are still together, but they do not get along. They did not get along most of my life. But the benefits of staying together (to them) were bigger than not (I’ve recently discovered that this is how many of us live our lives).
Going through this transition has been hard for me for countless different reasons that I could write a book about. But for our purposes here, I’ll stay focused.
Anytime I verbalize sadness over the situation, feeling sorrow for my step-dad or just over him being at this point in his life, my mom can’t remind me quick enough of their negative history. That and all the negatives that have occurred over our lives from their relationship or in her view from him.
Now I have two choices here, I can choose to listen to my mother and hear her negative view of how to be a “good daughter” and unfortunately sometimes I just do (not all the time, sometimes I hang up, hehe). Either way, I work hard to not let her perception change my opinion of the man I consider my father.
At this point, what good would it do for me to focus on the negatives of my family’s past? It just doesn’t benefit how I want to live my life in the present. It is in direct contrast with the fact that I aspire to always be a caring and helpful person for others, despite negatives they may have done to others and even me at times.
It’s not always easy. And sometimes after talking to my mom, I just want to cry. And trust me, sometimes I do.
Although, I know more truths than I want/need to, I continue to work on telling myself that my view is my view, hers is hers and we both made our own decisions on how we’ve lived our lives in the past and how we handle certain situations.
My perception of what was may be getting a little clouded by my mother’s views, but what I felt in the past, and what I feel about the memories of growing up (not only what she felt) is real. Despite the fact that those rosey colored glasses I often wear may have also changed “reality” a bit.
Soo… in my best attempts to move forward positively, I must decide how I am going to deal with this transition and move forward, despite all of these damn clouds.
I hope that sharing some of my struggles is somewhat helpful and I’m not completely rambling on as it’s easy to do when we’re being REAL with others and ourselves and not just telling a story.
Sunset views win every time!
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that whatever you’ve been through was real in the moment. Those feelings are real.
In my opinion, if I’m viewing sunsets from my balcony and what I see is pure beauty and some people who are looking out the same balcony instead choose to only see the dumpsters in the alley, why should I change my view anyway?
Being mindful about our transitions and life experiences helps us to see life through our OWN GLASSES whichever color we choose. (I’ll take a rosey pair, please!)
If this all resonates with you, but you’re looking for a little help with your mindset or just a little more guidance along the way, please feel free to reach out to me.
I specialize in this stuff.
My Hit Your Goals Life Coaching Program can help get you transition positively through life’s tough transitions and curve balls.
In the words of Albus Dumbledore…
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Sorry- had to. 😉
Remember, we all have the ability to achieve our goals, together let’s develop our Inherent Strengths to do so!