The A-Z of love: L is for loss

The A-Z of love: L is for loss



20:27 GMT, 6 May 2012

With love, inevitably, comes loss. Separation — whether through bereavement, break-up or divorce — is the price we pay for happiness.

The exact cost depends on how we handle it.

In 1969, legendary psychiatrist Elizabeth Kbler-Ross set out her five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Positive outlook: Loss can be a chance to begin again and rebuild

Positive outlook: Loss can be a chance to begin again and rebuild

When first hit by loss, we find it difficult to believe it is real.‘This isn’t happening,’ we tell ourselves. But it is.

Denial is followed by anger. ‘It’s not fair!’ we yell, as we look for something or someone to blame.

Then we desperately begin to bargain. ‘I’ll be a better person, if only…’  But our offers are rarely accepted, and reality dawns.

Then the sadness begins. No ordinary sadness this, but the cumulative effect of all the sadness, all the loss, all the injustices we’ve ever felt all at once. Depression sets in.

Over time we find acceptance. Not happiness exactly, but a new reality in which we know that it will be OK. Loss is a chance to begin again, to rebuild and reboot, to find a new footing and learn some new answers.

To get your life back after loss, join a club, gather your friends, make new ones. It will be the last thing you want to do, but make it the first.

‘Fake it till you make it.’ Action precedes emotion. Smile at strangers. Laugh when nothing feels funny. Do things just for fun. It works.

Moving on is not a betrayal. You can’t live your life for someone who is no longer there. Being with someone else can feel like a betrayal, but it is not.