How to deal with tragedy and loss
How does one mentally and emotionally deal with serious tragedies such as the loss of a loved one? What about global tragedies like natural disasters, genocide, or famine? Is it only human to feel down and depressed after such events, or is it possible to remain conscious and positive throughout? Is there a deeper meaning behind these seemingly random and tragic experiences?
My views on this subject stray quite a bit from the social norm, but as with all of my writing, my intention is to help you think about such things more consciously, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with me.
What is a tragedy?
Our social conditioning teaches us to interpret events like the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a permanent disability as tragic. To experience emotional pain when such things occur is considered perfectly normal behavior.
There’s even a process we’re expected to follow: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages were defined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying as the 5 Stages of Dealing with Catastrophic Loss, later popularized as the 5 Stages of Grief. You can find many variations on this, but the basic pattern is that we must experience the pain of the loss and then (hopefully) get over it and move on.
Of course, many people never complete the “getting over it” part. For some people a tragic loss becomes a death sentence. They simply give up on their lives. Game over.
But what defines a tragedy? Nothing but our thinking makes it so. A tragedy is a form of attachment to circumstances. When you become attached to circumstances and then experience an outcome that runs afoul of your expectations, emotional pain is the natural result. And the greater the attachment, the greater the pain.
Suppose your favorite pet dies suddenly. For many people this is a tragic experience. But is it the loss of the animal’s life that defines the tragedy? Not at all, especially considering those pet owners who’ll happily pay someone to put their dinner animals to death before eating them. What’s the difference between the pet and the meal? Emotional attachment. Where there’s no attachment, there’s no sense of tragedy.
Socially conditioned attachment
I was taught from a young age that it’s appropriate to be attached to circumstances. Moreover, I was taught which level of attachment was appropriate for each set of circumstances. I was conditioned to feel a certain way when certain events occurred.
Current social conditioning still encourages us to think in terms of our emotional attachments. Consider the “Support our troops” slogan that you’ll often see on car bumper stickers in the USA now. Support our troops… but not theirs. We’re supposed to be attached to one set of human beings but not the other. Us vs. them. Me vs. not me.
Moving beyond attachment
The root of attachment is fear. Without fear there’s no attachment to circumstances… no emotional resistance to outcomes. If you could remain open to everything and attached to nothing, then you would experience no fear. If you would consciously chose to live a fear-based existence, then attachments are fine. But if you wish to rid your life of unnecessary fear, then such socially conditioned attachments must eventually be rejected and replaced by conscious choice.
On average over 150,000 people die on this planet every single day. That’s more than a million a week. Given those figures why should the deaths of people we know be any more tragic than the deaths of people we don’t? If we’re going to eventually confront the 5 Stages of Grief, why not do it up front? Move past denial and over to acceptance right now.
Our social conditioning frames our lives within a context whereby certain events are labeled as tragic. But there’s nothing inherently tragic about those events. They are what they are. We have plenty of other viable interpretations available. We need not remain loyal to a context that creates unnecessary pain and robs us of joy. The dead do not require that we suffer upon their departure. All the pain we create is our own — by allowing ourselves to adopt a disempowering, fear-based context.
Instead of viewing certain events as tragic, why not choose a context in which they become transformational? Change is a natural part of human existence. Perhaps instead of resisting change, we can learn to embrace it… in all its various forms. Instead of labeling events as good or bad, we can withhold judgment and simply accept them for what they are: the ever-unfolding dance of consciousness.
Free will gives us the opportunity to choose our thoughts, and that includes our context. To label events as tragic and defeating is a choice, one that fully conscious people would be unlikely to make. You are not a victim of the circumstances of your life. Sometimes you may find yourself unconsciously overwhelmed by circumstances, but when you regain your consciousness once again, you always have the option of choosing your mental response to events. And your mental response will dictate your emotional response. The more you resist circumstances, the more pain you experience. The more you accept them, the more joy you experience.
We’re taught that a painful, fear-based response is appropriate in certain circumstances. But that is an arbitrary choice… and a highly disempowering one at that. Even a seemingly tragic loss as perceived from the social context can be viewed as a joyful transformation from a different context.
I, for one, prefer to adopt a context which leads to joy and empowerment, regardless of circumstances. I see no reason to buy into a context that disempowers me. Some would say that I’m living in denial. And from a certain perspective that would be accurate. I will gladly deny myself unnecessary suffering, so I can avoid the greater tragedy of living in denial of joy. I accept events as they occur, but I choose my own interpretation of them – the most empowering interpretation I can, one that puts me in a state of joy and peace rather than suffering and depression. From a state of joy I am free to act without fear. From a state of fear I feel trapped and usually do nothing.
Our aim behind xHow2.com is to straighten old and new beliefs in the world of self-help. We give forward and directive steps on how to carry a successful life, relationships, social life, public etc. We have been empowering and giving tips to both married and unmarried people on how to build successful relationships and on the other hand understanding their feelings and getting rid of unwanted ones.