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7 Things Losing The One You Loved Teaches You

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7 Things Losing The One You Loved Teaches You

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself” Walter Anderson

Losing someone you love through changes such as: death, divorce, relationship demise, or miscarriage, is a painful and emotional experience. The experience of loss is a life challenge that happens to all of us and for most  of us, it happens more than once in our lives.

I remember the first time, in my early twenties when I lost someone I loved. He decided that he didn’t love me and that we needed to move on. I was devastated and didn’t know how I would survive the pain.

I did survive and in fact as a result of that break up I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I went and lived overseas for number of years. Though I didn’t think so at the time he ended up doing me a big favor.

The loss of my parents was another life test that threw my world into chaos and pain. I remember thinking the same thing as I did when I was going through my relationship break up in my early twenties, “How am I ever going to survive this pain?”

Well, I have survived and as a result of these losses in my life I have become emotionally stronger and resilient.  I believe that it is these life challenges that provide us with the opportunity for personal growth and to learn some of the most important lessons in our lives.

“In school you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson” Malcolm X

I love the quote from Malcolm X as he explains so well how we are taught our lessons of life – we have to be tested to learn the lesson. Losing someone you love is a test of life and you have no control over the challenges that life throws at you. What you do have however is the power to control your response to these life challenges.

Here are 7 valuable things that I learned as a result of losing people in my life who I have loved deeply.

I would like to share these learnings with you to encourage you, to live your life to the fullest, to chase your dreams, to deal with the curveballs that life throws at you, to seize the moment and to treasure the gifts of life, love and laughter.

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1.Live Your Life to the Fullest As It Can Change In A Blink Of An Eye

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable”. Helen Keller

My father and mother died within 3 days of each other and when they died my life changed in a blink of an eye. From from that day I realized just how precious life is. How important it is to live in the moment, to be present and not to wish away your life.

If you have a dream but you are too scared to go for it –don’t wait for the right time, as it never is the right time, just do it. Find a way and go for it. My priorities  also changed and I realised that I needed to get clear about what was important in my life.  For me it was my family and my friends who were most important in my life. Following my dream, to be a writer, speaker and coach became the most important thing for me to do in my life. I knew that I had to follow my dream because I didn’t want to look back at my life  with regret and  wished I had given it a go.

Life is too short to have regrets! Embrace life, take the time to make memories and cherish the moments you spend with the people you love. Get your priorities sorted and know what is important to you.

2. Appreciate And Show Gratitude As People Matter More Than Anything 

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance” Eckhart Tolle

The people you surround yourself with – your family and friends is your treasure chest. They are more important than all the money, the power or fame, the cars, the clothes, the houses, the boats, or the overseas holidays you may have.

All these material things you gather, your fortune and your power are easy to get and easy to lose. The people in your life who love and support you, once you lose them you cant get them back.

Always show your love and appreciate those you love in your life. Remember that the people you touch with your appreciation and gratitude will bring great joy and enrichment to your life. Don’t be afraid to show your love and affection to people. Take the time to make the phone call to a friend you haven’t seen in ages. Don’t let your pain and despair isolate you from people. Make the time to nurture and grow your relationships. You need the energy of others to help you heal.

I realized this lesson very early on in my journey. I could not have survived the loss of my parents without my family and my friends.

3. Healing Is A Process – get to know the process and don’t rush it!

And so I wait. I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to me feet once again – so that I can start a new path, my own path, the one that will make me whole again.” ― Jan Canfield

Loss hurts. We may feel anger at being left by the person we love, we may feel despair, sadness and be fearful about our future.

What we are feeling is very real and you need to go through the process and feel your grief. Accept that it takes time to heal and that here is light at the end of the dark tunnel. You just have to get through the dark tunnel. You can bury pain deep within you and think that you are coping and you can get on with life.  But, I guarantee that if you don’t acknowledge and deal with your emotional pain, it will find you. The hidden layers of pain will erupt back into your life with such force you won’t know what has hit you.

Another important part  I believe of the healing process is Forgiveness. This is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you have been rejected and and betrayed by the one you love.

The negative thoughts that come  with your anger and pain are soul destroying. The more you hate and despise the person you have lost, the less likely it is that you will heal.

Forgiveness does not happen overnight. It is a process that takes time and patience. However, when you free yourself of  negative thoughts and behaviours, you become more empowered to  strive to live a life that is full of hope, optimism and happiness.

Always be kind to yourself. It took me a long time to learn to be kind to me and to make time for me. If I had spent more time looking after me, sharing my pain rather than trying to be strong all the time – my healing would have been a less bumpier journey.

4. Use Your Power Of Choice – choose to live a happy life and choose to be hopeful.

There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” Dalai Lama XIV

We cannot control the bad things that happen in our life, however we can control our reactions to these challenging events through our Power of Choice.

Essentially how we live our life is determined by how we choose to live it.

When we step into using our Power of Choice we are actively seeking solutions to deal with the challenges we have to face. Using our power of choice empowers us to recognise how we can move forward

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.To move forward we maintain our hope for a better future and with hope comes a happy life. A very simple recipe to life however we can sabotage this recipe to living a happy life by not trusting ourselves to step out of our comfort zone.

Choose to turn your loss and pain into a life learning journey, where the result for you is,  you have become stronger, more empowered and live a more enriched life.

 5. Find You and Your Purpose in Life

When you lose something in your life, stop thinking it’s a loss for you… it is a gift you have been given so you can get on the right path to where you are meant to go, not to where you think you should have gone” Suze Orman

Each time I have lost someone I loved either in death or a relationship break I have learned so much about me.

For me, having a life purpose gives my  life meaning. Don’t waste your energy on what is not important. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. Don’t be overwhelmed by the journey to find your purpose in life – it is a big journey.

Make a plan and take action – don’t give up. Set realistic and achievable goals and take one step at a time.

Celebrate your successes – each time you achieve your goal no matter how small or how big, celebrate it and share your successes with those you love. Happiness comes when you know what you are doing, believe in what you are doing and love what you are doing.

The pursuit of your happiness is all about you living a meaningful life and when you find your purpose in life, you increase your happiness  by 200 percent.

6. Don’t Let Your Past Rule Your LIfe Now And In The Future

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the future”  Jan Glidewell

Your past is your opportunity to learn the lessons you need to deal with your present life.

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Let go of your regrets in life, make peace with your past, accept it and move on. Look for opportunities for self-discovery and learn how to trust and believe in you.

You are not what happened in your past, you are whom you choose to be now and in your future. Become the strong empowered resilient person you desire to be. The person who looks forward to the future and is living a happy fulfilled life.

7.  Don’t Run Away From Life – stay strong and embrace its unpredictability.

“Running away from your problems is a race you will never win, so just face them head on, and overcome them.” – Unknown

Life is a strange and amazing journey, full of painful experiences and beauty. Running away from the challenges life presents to us is not the answer to dealing with life. When you run away the only place you can go is nowhere!

The pain, the discomfort and the challenges of life will follow you where ever you go. It is ok to fall apart for a little while but only for a little while.

Unpredictable hardships in life are inevitable and when we overcome these hardships and meet them head on – we grow stronger, become more resilient and our life flourishes. Spend time on you, developing your strength and your resilience. Get prepared for life and be adaptable and flexible

. Remember that everything that happens to you is a life lesson – embrace life and never forget how precious the moments in life are.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen”. Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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