But what about losing something you love like an ongoing social event you’ve attended for years, a volunteering job you loved, some aspect of your health or fitness, or even an object that was very precious to you?
The emotional cost of losing something you love
It is absolutely possible to experience feelings of loss, bereavement and grief even if what we lost isn’t a person. This can look like:
So it’s not just that the weekly card came you’ve enjoyed for ten years has ended, it’s that with it has gone your sense of stability and belonging. You are not just losing your grandmother’s necklace you inherited, you are losing your sense of being responsible and feeling connected. Who wouldn’t mourn that?
And when our negative core beliefs are stirred up, it also triggers the repressed emotions connected to the difficult experiences that formed such beliefs. Suddenly we feel really sad, or really angry, not realising we are expressing years worth of backed up feelings, or what some call ‘being triggered’.
What can I do to feel better after losing something I loved?
1. Don’t beat yourself up.
It is actually okay and normal to be upset for weeks to come when you lose something you relied on.
Telling yourself to ‘stop being such a wimp’ or to ‘grow up’ is not helpful. Imagine you are talking to your best friend. Would you tell him/her to ‘not be so dramatic‘, or would you understand that losing something they valued has left them feeling vulnerable?
2. Give yourself time.
Consider it like a kind of mourning. Mourning takes time, and everyone has their own timeline here. You will move on when you are ready, and that is the perfect timing.
3. Do some digging.
The best way to get over something is often to go through it. If you can get to what is really going on for you, what the lost thing has triggered, then you can process the real issues and emotions.
Journaling can be great here, as can be talking to trusted friends. Free form discussion is good to see what comes up. But also ask yourself good questions that begin with how/what (why questions tend to be rabbit holes). This includes things like:
what did losing this thing make me feel?
how does my life now feel different than it did before the loss?
if I could tell the object/experience/event that I lost something, what would it be?
what might I have really lost here, behind the obvious?
If it’s been more than six weeks and you are still feeling low or edgy, it’s worth reaching out for professional support. It’s possible that the loss of something you loved has triggered anxiety or depression.
A professional counsellor or psychotherapist can help you unravel just what the loss has triggered for you, and create a warm, non judgemental environment for you to explore your feelings and thoughts.