It is the hardest parts of life that make us our best selves.
In loss, we don’t often see the good side. How can we? Our world has been shattered. But whatever your grief might be telling you, there is good that can come from loss.
Grief isn't a defined process that you "get over". It's learning to live an entirely way, and that can make you so much stronger.
Part of the grief process is realizing that in the wake of incredible loss we can be transformed into stronger, better people than we were before tragedy befell us. That might sound like Pollyanna-talk of the highest order, but I have lost people tragically myself, and I couldn’t believe this more.
Here are 5 things about loss that make us better, stronger human beings.
1. We become more patient
Until you’ve lost someone it can be hard to live life at anything other than a breakneck speed. Loss makes us stop in our tracks and look around at the world. It’s tempting to be short with the slow barista at the coffee shop, but experiencing a loss makes it easier for us to understand that life and the other people living it don’t go according to our speed all the time.
2. We become more forgiving
A huge part of human nature is the tendency to want to nurse grudges. We hold our anger about small petty things close to our chests like shields, as if they can protect us from feeling hurt. Spoiler alert, they can’t. They don’t. When we lose someone, the small things in life like who said they would take out the trash or who stole whose boyfriend go from small to inconsequential. The healing that can happen after death is one of the greatest gifts loss leaves behind.
3. We become funnier
We all approach death in black tie, wearing a tux and squinting through a monocle. But once you’ve experienced a death, it’s like you’re let in on the cosmic joke of life. It’s a like knowing about pregnancy and actually being pregnant and giving birth. You aren’t as squeamish anymore, you aren’t afraid to laugh at things that are dark or gross. You laugh because laughter is alive and you’re still here.
4. We may become less anxious
When you lose someone eventually realize, whether you like it or not, that you’re not in control of anything. You can try to be, you can schedule and worry and stay up late crunching numbers but at the end of the day, you can’t do it all. Learning to let go and life life lead you where it will is one of the greatest gifts loss gives us.
5. We become more loving
Losing someone, especially unexpectedly makes us that much more aware of how important the people in our lives are. A loss brings us closer together as a community, and it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with the people who matter most to you, even if you’ve drifted apart. Life is short and all we really have is each other. Loss underlines that reality in a way that’s just as beautiful as it is sad.