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Dealing with endings, attachments (to people and objects) and moving on…

Endings can come in many forms, but one thing is for sure; we will all have to deal with them. Some are harder than others. It starts with leaving a 24 hour home life to go to school, then leaving school year later and a whole host of other endings…

  • The severing of friends and family relationships
  • Finishing something that has been regular like gym workouts, a hobby, a college course…
  • End of personal relationships – being dumped, dumping the other person, falling out…
  • Friends and family moving away or to another country
  • Moving home
  • Leaving jobs
  • And ‘Death of a significant other’…

Sometimes we make the choices ourselves, other times someone else or circumstances make the changes for us. All endings can be hard, but especially if they are out of our control and a shock.

We get attached to people and places, and may miss them or feel angry about the change.

We can also get attached to inanimate objects, which we are sad about if we lose them or have them taken from us. Theft can create a huge loss in our hearts, especially if it’s something personal to us or that is something that belonged to a significant other.

So how do we deal with loss and attachment?

Everyone is different, but these are some useful ways…

  1. It can be very useful to write your feelings down; to explore your loss and how you are feeling.
  2. Write letters you will never, send. Addressed to the person in question, you can say all the things you wanted to say to them, whether it’s nice things or not so nice things that you need to process. You can let go of dislike, or let go of grief.
  3. When it comes to something you have been doing regularly, like therapy or college, replacing the time slot with something else that’s pleasant can be useful in the beginning or ongoing. This might be catching up with friends or family, going for a walk or coffee, or doing some gardening. I don’t feel everything should or needs to be replaced, but it can help for a few weeks in the interim.
  4. Make some new plans on what to do next. This keeps us interested and motivated to move on and make the most of the change.
  5. Therapy can help you deal with the loss; counselling, psychotherapy or CBT in particular.
  6. Help yourself in any way you can, to get through – be it eating, exercise or being mindful.
  7. Mindfulness really helps – by giving myself time to just ‘be in the moment’ you can enjoy what you have got and how you feel, rather than thinking about the past or what you have lost. You can use your senses to do this, be it smell, taste, sound, feel or sight. My favourite is taste, eating my favourite things or things that remind me of someone I love. I also love sound – sitting and just listening… to birdsong, chit chat, laughing; whatever is around me at the time.
  8. Very important is to acknowledge the loss and attachment and to allow yourself time to get over it. You can just try to forget about it, or try to rush it through, but processing needs to be done at some time and I feel it is best not to try too hard to push it all away. The time it will take to overcome the loss/attachment will depend on the significance and emotions surrounding the loss and attachment. I allow myself as long as I need; using self-respect and self-care.
  9. When I lost my Late Great Auntie’s ring (it fell off my finger as it was a little too big), I was devastated. Over time, I had to tell myself that I have so much more of hers still left – most importantly my memories of being with her. Those are the most precious.
  10. Indulge in hobbies and learning new things.

 

Loss and attachment are two of many things we experience in life whether we like it or not, and like so many other things that affect our emotions and actions, we just have to find ways to get through loss.

Take care,

Sandra Dean

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