The Ebb and Flow of Life
My undergraduate degree was in psychology. My hobby and passion is psychology. I have friends in the therapy world, and I’ve seen a therapist or two myself… One thing in the therapy world that is very much agreed upon is that life ebbs and flows in cycles: times of growth, times of stagnation; times of content, and times of sadness; times of closeness, and times of distance; times of abundance, and times of loss, etc. How can we build resiliency and allow ourselves to trust and surrender to the natural ebb and flow of life?
With the holiday season encroaching, things will be quite different, and we suspect that many of us will feel a sense of loss. Our family gatherings may not be as large, or may not be existent this year. The foods we can usually get might not be available. We may have lost family members to the pandemic. We may not be able to travel to see our families, etc. Life is a never-ending series of cycles happening simultaneously, overlapping and colliding, creating patterns only to break the patterns and begin a new trend. And sometimes, it’s simply purely chaos. This being the case, we must become accustomed to and good at loss and regeneration. It’s implicit in our existence.
Does it sound odd to say “become good at loss”? Maybe there’s another way to look at it. Football players have the unique privilege of getting tackled, being tripped/tripping, or simply running into other players; in short, they fall often. When one falls often, they must learn how to fall properly so they do not incur bodily harm. They must become good at falling. Similarly, loss is not optional, and so we must become good at loss. What makes one good at loss?
Resilience is really helpful in dealing with loss. I’m not talking about the stuffing down and “soldiering on” type of resilience, I mean the faith in oneself that with hardwork and determination you can overcome many things. Some psychologists call this “grit”. Interestingly, often people think that certain personality qualities can not be changed, but nearly anything can be worked that one wants to work on.
Not only must we become good at loss, we must also become good at regenerating things we feel like we may have lost. I think this is where community, friendships, and relationships come in. Communicating with friends and family about what’s occurring for you can be very helpful, as it respects the grieving process.
Though this holiday season may be different than others, I hope we can all remember to be grateful for what we do have. That doesn’t mean to ignore big and tough feelings, rather invite gratitude to be a part of the process.
Wishing everyone the best this holiday season…