We all need to grieve – not just over the death of someone we love – but for other things as well. Obviously to lose a pet is a cause for grief as is the loss of a friend. In these cases we need to grieve, to gather our strength, to re-assess our new situation without that person or pet. What I am talking about here is the loss of something close to each of us, something that we hold dear, something that has been a constant, that we have taken for granted, at least in our own mind.
I am talking about something which we may have considered as part of us, our make-up, our psyche, some characteristic, some trait which makes us, us. If this particular trait or characteristic is criticised or diminished in any way, or if it is realized to be, or pointed out to be, somewhat inappropriate and we recognize the truth of the matter then a change takes place, whether we want it or not. It is an immediate change and comes as a shock to the system. We immediately feel we have lost something – something we had previously considered as important.
Take my case for instance. I recently became very angry with someone I love dearly and who is my best friend. There had been some disagreement over a relatively trivial matter (as is usual in life’s relationships). This gradually, over the course of a few days, grew into something far greater than it really was. As I say I became very angry and it was not entirely what I said but the manner in which it was said, that has caused the repercussions.
As has been repeatedly stated in what I write, for every effect there was somewhere a cause. We can never know what string has been pulled or what thread has been severed and where the effect of the pulling or the severing will be felt. But felt it will be – somewhere and at sometime. There have been so far two repercussions that I have keenly felt. One and by far the most important one is that I sense the relationship with my friend has grown slightly more distant – still friendly and a loving relationship but not quite so warm. There is a lack of spontaneity and a slightly more cautious approach – from both my friend and myself.
The other repercussion is one that is of lesser importance but keenly felt none-the-less. It is about my temper. I have always striven, generally successfully, to control my temper. I am a human being and have always known that I had a temper and that if I let slip the leash, it will become a very bad temper. Now I may be exaggerating, but I don’t believe I have lost my temper more that about three or four times in my life. One of the reasons I try to control it is because when I really loose it and see red (and I do actually see red – my attention is totally focused by what appears to be a narrow tunnel, with the object of my anger at the other end) I feel physically ill for some time afterwards. The other, and more important point, is that I am afraid of what I might do to the person I am angry with – if I totally lose control, what will (or what can) I do? I don’t know.
I have written about the pointless of anger many time – it never solves a problem – only causes more! So now I have not only hurt a friend, which grieves me, but I have also, finally and at last, recognized the foolishness of getting angry – anger is toxic (to me at least) and has severe repercussions on innocent parties to the detriment of all.
The realization that control over my anger was always merely a front, to appear to be calm and in control, is difficult for me to appreciate and to learn. Yet the only thing that I have damaged in myself is my ego. I am now, in some small way, not what I thought I was. I am not diminished in any way – in fact I may now be a better person. But I feel the loss. This is where the grieving comes in.
I will grieve about, and do my best to repair, the relationship with my friend, and over time I feel sure that a new and stronger relationship, based on a new understanding and stronger ties will eventuate. That is what grief is for – to grow and become stronger from the grief.
My ego? Oh well I am sure it will recover fairly quickly as ego’s tend to do. I will justify the “loss” in whatever way seems appropriate and again, I am sure, I will be a better person from the loss!!