A Spiritual Perspective Of Loss And Failure

One of the hardest things in life is to accept and to deal with loss and failure, but why is that? Everyone can lose something as nothing is guaranteed in life, but that doesn’t mean they have necessarily failed. Perhaps it’s a societal perception that influences humans to see it that way? For instance, when a relationship ends, did both sides fail to make it work or was it something that no longer served a purpose and came to a natural end? People consider divorce and relationships that split up as failures, but it can lead to happiness when all parties concerned can move onto things they truly wish to do or be with someone they prefer to spend time with.

When we lose something, the security that familiarity provides goes with it, and when people feel insecure they can feel like a failure. However, many successful business people have failed before, and happy people have lost things, it’s just that the media and society choose not to discuss these elements of life and to focus only on achievements and winning. One should remember that one can learn to win and be successful from losing, and the most important lessons come from loss and what to do better in future, how to avoid things that can lead to loss, and also the strength gained in coping and dealing with it.

There are other losses that many of us have to deal with: the loss of a job, a home, friendships, trust, and also faith. Some may look at material possessions when they think of loss at first, and while some things can be substituted, rarely can things be replaced exactly. However, material things are tangible, so when something breaks such as a piece of jewelry it can be fixed, or if a favorite sweater gets a hole in it, it can be mended but these things aren’t designed to be eternal and will wear out and break. Friendships that involve a loss of trust or losing a job you loved are harder to ‘fix’ and to deal with. One may feel disappointed, empty, angry, and alone when these losses occur, but what is the best way to deal with them? There is no textbook answer because each of us will handle the situation differently, yet there will always be a period of anxiety and fear that arises when something that makes you feel good disappears.

Essentially one can survive with a few basic things; a job they enjoy and that can financially provide for the necessities in life (food, clothing, heat, water, and a home), a home that they feel safe in, and friends and family who care for them. If you have all of that, then you pretty much have a good life that provides a firm foundation for you to grow and develop in all areas. When you lose a job, some people feel lost and also that they have been a failure even if they were made redundant. Sadly people feel defined by a job title, and is also a status symbol, so it’s actually a loss of pride. Those who are made redundant may question why were they chosen? Were they the worst performers, when the fact is it may come down to cost and that they had a higher salary, or their job was replaced by technology. Instead people do create fancy titles for their jobs, such as Executive Assistant, which really is the same as a secretary but sounds much better, or just add manager to the title to make a job seem as if it has responsibility.

I once worked in a company where everyone was a manager, with only a couple of executives who were usually interns. Losing a job can dent the ego, and no one likes to openly admit they were let go from a job, but sometimes a door must close for a new and better one to open. I’ve also seen less than scrupulous companies let go of staff after their probation period (usually three months) to get out of paying for any benefits such as holiday and sick pay. I saw a HR manager do this to a member of staff on the final day of the 90 day probation period when they were at a conference, and wasn’t even allowed to empty her desk or given any notice. Therefore, losing a job isn’t always based on performance but also the motives of the company. Jobs provide not only financial security, but also a purpose in life—something to do and that one usually enjoys. Obviously there are many who are in jobs they don’t particularly like and do them for the money, but the world isn’t ideal. Few of us are lucky enough to only have been in jobs we truly enjoy, but also the idea of a job and the actually reality can be very different. I always wanted to be a fashion editor, but when I did an internship, the reality of the job was not glamorous at all, wasn’t well paid, and not as creative as I was led to believe.

When a loss occurs there is often a character building lesson that can be learned from it, and usually it’s not always that pleasant at the time. One of the problems I see is that people are reluctant or ashamed to admit to losses, and as a result it has become stigmatized in society. By accepting loss is a natural part of life and openly being courageous enough to admit to it is a lesson itself, for I see many people who are in denial. There is nothing shameful about a loss in life, but society has made it look as if someone has failed—remember, failure is only when you haven’t learned from something and you repeat the same mistakes.

However, it is hard not to feel as if you have failed when the societal pressures hype up those who are successful, thus people want and crave this because they think it will solve their problems and others will judge them more fondly. That is not always necessarily the case, because if one has been successful using less than honorable methods, is that something to be admired or even to aspire to? Too many look for shortcuts or hide dodgy dealings in a bid to look successful, but are they really? Deep down they know the truth and so do those in the Spiritual Realm. Each path will involve loss or a failure of some kind, but is something people skip over or are encouraged not to share. The thing is usually that is the part that others can learn from, and also makes the success all the greater because they have learned to overcome obstacles or hurdles.

Shaking off a feeling of failure isn’t easy, when people say a C grade in Harvard is a fail is that helpful at all? Instead people will try to gain grades by whatever means to appear to have passed, and many will cheat to look successful and the sad thing is that this type of behavior is quietly accepted as the norm. So if so many people are faking success, how does one measure real success? I try not to see loss as a failure, but as a lesson for me to look at why something didn’t work out and how I could do things better. For instance in friendships, I can make more of an effort to stay in touch, or learn to be more diplomatic in an argument.

What one should take from this is the fact that loss and learning to recognize it, admitting to it, and to then to learn from it is a natural and inevitable part of human life. By opting to ignore it, or pretending it doesn’t exist leads to an inferior part of humanity that is denying the human capacity to learn. That is the sole point of humanity—to evolve and to learn to live with one another harmoniously. It really isn’t about who has the biggest house, or the highest salary, but somehow that is what society has led people to believe is important.

Nothing is permanent in this world for everything changes even during an era, therefore loss is inevitable, but should not be considered a failure. People should not feel ashamed or made to feel that way when they experience a loss, yet society continues to encourage this perception. Loss is normal, and those who do experience it are usually the strong ones who confront obstacles and don’t give up. They are to me the winners in humanity.

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