Loss can feel like a giant hole. Part of your life, such as a job or a person you’ve cared about, is suddenly gone. Even if you’ve had mixed feelings or you knew that relationship was going to end, it can still feel like an unwelcome empty place.
This week I completed a three-year term as the volunteer leader of an organization that means a lot to me. I was ready for it to end. I am satisfied with the job I did. But the emotion I feel at this moment is one of loss.
I find myself doing what everybody does at such times: trying to avoid the feeling, distracting myself and looking at the bright side. I’ll have more free time. The weight of administrative responsibility is lifted from my shoulders. And yet, I feel sad.
There is only one thing to do. Feel the sadness. Tell the truth about it and lean into the emotional sensation. By engaging intentionally in the honest feeling I feel, I will work through it faster and return to my normal balance. That would happen eventually anyway, but why wait for days or weeks? I don’t feel sorry for myself–after all, it was a very good experience–but the emotion is what it is and needs to be dealt with directly.
This process is at the heart of the book, The Seventh System, and the key to keeping my emotional system healthy. My preferred method is to sit quietly and immerse myself in the direct feeling for as long as it takes to break up. It will not be fun, but it will be effective. Processing sadness directly is the best way through it. I’ll be fine in a few days.
Try this the next time you have a hole in your life.