We all experience loss in our lives. Whether this loss is physical, mental, spiritual or emotional the same center of the brain is triggered. When we experience loss we go through a grief process and the emotions that are triggered varies from bewilderment, anger, denial, sadness to bitterness and hopefully finally acceptance.
It is true that it is important to go through this process and although it is similar to everyone, it is not experienced in the same way. Emotions have the same impact on our body as stimulants do. The challenge with emotions is that the part of the brain we use, when we are in an emotional state, is not our logical or reasonable mind. The emotions trigger stress hormones that makes it almost impossible for us to be creative, practice self-mastery and introspection.
So how do we handle these emotions. Emotions only lasts 60 seconds, however, every emotion is linked to a thought and every thought is linked to an emotion. As long as we think about the issue, the emotions will manifest. These emotions have an impact on our mental state, physiology, behavior, relationships, work performance, joy, peace and every possible aspect of our lives.
The only way to move into self-mastery is to mindfully choose to shift our focus from the issue or challenge to a different outcome. Let’s say that you have lost two fingers in an accident, the loss of your 2 fingers can be devastating to you. You can so focus on this loss that it consumes your inner wellbeing.
If you decide to focus on the fact that you were lucky because you only lost 2 fingers but you still have 8 left, suddenly the emotions dissipate. You shifted your focus and are now able to look with gratitude at what you have and not what you don’t have. With this new viewpoint you can literally change your life and move forward.
Sometimes we don’t want to focus on the 8 fingers, we prefer focusing on the 2 lost fingers because this can actually justify our bad behavior and why things in our lives are not working out. We become trapped in a victim mindset and have no desire to move forward. This can continue for years, until we come to a point where we realize this mindset is not benefitting us but rather hurting us and our loved ones.
Focusing on the 8 fingers is not saying that the 2 fingers you lost weren’t important. You loved those fingers and it is good to grieve for them for a time, but we are not supposed to stay in that state for too long. At some point we have to move on, we have to let go of the emotions and focus on the learnings we got from the disappointment. When we ask ourselves questions about what we learned and what the gift was in the pain, we become enlightened.
So the real question we need to ask ourselves is the following: If you choose to continue to focus on your 2 lost fingers, what does this yield in you. How does focusing on what you lost contribute to your future and relationships? What if your loss can be turned into a blessing? What can you be grateful for and how can you use the learnings of your experience to add value to yourself and others?
When we ask ourselves these questions, we move into our Prefrontal Cortex (our thinking and creative brain) and the emotions and the hormones that have kept us hostage dissipate.
If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow…