I mentioned in part 1 of this article that if there’s someone we resent, we won’t miss them if they leave. If they decide to no longer be a part of our lives, we easily move on.
When it’s someone we look up to with admiration or even infatuation (which is sometimes confused with love) we can heavily grieve the loss of them in our lives. This is commonly seen in the death of loved ones.
Be warned – the rest of this article may annoy you and conflict with some of your beliefs on life and people. That’s ok.
Let’s look at how we live our lives on the daily grind.
There are people we look up to and people we look down to. The people we look up to tend to be the ones that have qualities we think are similar to ourselves or we believe are ‘better’ than ourselves.
Then there are the people we look down to. These people have qualities that you’ll say things like ‘I’m never like that.’ You’ll resist any possibility of being similar to them and in some extreme cases, you’ll go as far as consciously doing the opposite just to prove to yourself and others that you’re nothing like them.
So if there are people you look up to and others you look down to then where do you fit in the mix? Nowhere really. Because you’re so focused on others that you lose yourself in the process. I like to use this analogy. If you focussed on the way everyone else is driving in their lanes, then you’re not putting any attention into where you’re going.
The people you look up to, you’ll try to be more like them. The people you look down to, you’ll openly share your opinions on how they should live.
Neither are healthy. They’re both self-destructive.
Now let’s review the impact this has on grief and loss. Irrespective of who the person is, if you admired or looked up to them, then you’ll feel like a hole is missing, that something has been removed from your life.
If the person who dies or leaves, is someone that you looked down to or resented in your life, one of two things will happen.
- You’ll quietly feel a sense of relief for them not being around anymore. Even if you feel guilty for it, the relief is still there.
- You’ll all of sudden remember all of their admirable and ‘good’ qualities to alleviate any shame or guilt you carry, now that the person you resented is dead.
For some people, both of these things occur.
The best way I know to deal with this is through the means and power of questions. A tool that was used in the 3rd century BC by Ancient Greek legends, Socrates and his student Plato.
Asking questions that no one is asking is the best way to get answers that no one is getting.
What questions do you ask in relation to death and grief?
Firstly, ask yourself what do you specifically miss about this person? What is it that you feel you have lost? It’s important to identify what you believe is missing for you to be able to change the feelings of loss and grief.
What qualities do you believe they had that are now gone?
List them all out. Each and every one of them. Their hugs, the long talks, their cooking, their sense of humour. etc.
You’ll notice that all of these things that you miss are not ‘bad’ qualities. They’ll all have a positive spin or feel in some way. You don’t miss the things that annoyed you or pissed you off.
Secondly, ask yourself where is this quality showing up in my life now? Who in my life, since this person has left (either through death or departure) is showing this quality? Who is demonstrating it? Who is now doing the same things in a similar way to the person that is now gone?
You’ll find the more you ask this question, the more you’ll realise that there are a few people demonstrating this quality that you believe is missing. There may be a couple of people who do it most and a few other people who do it only a small amount. It doesn’t matter. Keep looking until you see that this trait is showing up around you in other people.
You may have your doubts about how well this works, but believe me, it does.
We live in a world that is based on change. Change is the only thing that is permanent. It’s the only thing that we can guarantee.
The world and people are constantly changing around us.
Death plays a big factor in change. It creates the end of something to allow the beginning of something new. If the qualities or traits of someone seem to disappear, it’s because you’re not seeing where they are now showing up in a place they didn’t previously.
You’ll begin to notice that certain people around you start doing things that the person you miss used to do. That’s no coincidence.
Learn to look for what’s ‘missing’ and watch how much your life truly changes. Your grief will begin to shift and no longer weigh you down.
This along with the other lessons that I’ve taken away from the 3 deaths in 10 days has contributed to my life invaluably. Use the lessons that I’ve learnt. They’re here for you as a reminder to live, to adapt to change and let go of your resentment towards yourself and others.
Put simply, there are lessons for us all to learn about ourselves in every death. If death wasn’t necessary, it wouldn’t take place. So open up, look around and take in every possible learning from the people you’ve ‘lost’. They’re teaching you something.
That’s the greatest way to pay respect to the people who have passed on.