There’s nothing scarier in this world than the thought of losing the people that we love. There’s something about the fear of grief that really cuts straight through a person. It can feel overwhelming at times, like you’re constantly waiting for the worst to happen. That’s no way to live your life. I know that we can’t help it because our brains naturally jump to the worst conclusions. However, here are a few helpful thoughts and feelings to train yourself to that can help you deal with the fear of losing someone.
- Accept the time you have. Whether it’s fearing that your grandma might not have that long to live, or if it’s just sending your long-distance girlfriend back on a flight home for the holidays, there are many ways this goes. You have to take the pressure off. Stop loading up every minute of your time with the risk and fallout that might not even happen. You won’t enjoy your time anymore by clinging to it. Goodbyes are a part of life just as much as hellos. It’s a sad but necessary truth.
- Don’t fear the future. There’s often no reason to fear the future. You might think you’ll never see this person again or that things won’t be the same the next time you see them, for whatever reason. However, these things do pass, and everything has to run its natural course. It will still be sad and you won’t always feel ready for change, but make no mistake – it will come.
- Stop hoarding “what if”s. This doesn’t give you any more time, and in fact, it limits your opportunities. Regret is an unhelpful emotion because you can never escape it. No matter how happy or successful you might objectively be, there will always be that nagging voice in your ear whispering all the ways things could have gone differently. This doesn’t mean that you made mistakes in your relationships, or that you could have extended your time together. You can’t take responsibility for the way the earth turns. Just let yourself up along for the ride and accept what has happened and cherish the memories of the person you love. That won’t change.
- Don’t be afraid of group quality time. Don’t just plan solo hangouts with the person you are afraid will leave, because you won’t have any other support to draw on. By sharing your special person with the other people in your life, you spread yourself out. You are seen by multiple people, and loved by them. Your eggs aren’t all in just one basket, and you can be reminded of all the ways that you are loved by so many people.
- Trust them. If they say that they’re not going anywhere, trust them. There’s no use crying over spilled milk, but there’s even less reason to cry before the carton has tipped. Do you get my drift? Commitment is all about trust and planning for the future – don’t fear losing them so much that you stop hoping!
- Know that you will be okay if they do leave. You might lose them. Yes, it’s going to hurt. I can’t promise otherwise. But time heals all wounds, and we all evolve in proportion with our experiences. We can adapt to circumstances and will be the better for it. All that you have learned from your person, you will still have with you. Whether they’re still around or not.
- Things happen for a reason. This is a classic piece of hallmark greeting card fodder, but it’s not wrong. Sometimes you just have to accept things that have happened, say your prayers, thank whatever god you trust in, and keep plodding on. You can’t change the way the world works but you can control yourself. You have to trust that you have the tools and emotional space to deal with big changes and losses. You’re a catch and everyone is glad to know you – don’t sell yourself short because you won’t be alone forever.
- Cherish the time you have together. Difficult futures do not negate a wonderful bank of memories. You will have the good infused with the bad in any situation and this is no different. Remember all the ways they changed you and all the ways you can still change. You are still here and still living for the now. You can take their legacy with you wherever you go. That’s special.
No matter what the circumstances are, loss is a terrible but inevitable part of life. You can’t escape it, you can’t get better at it, but you will get through it. I believe in you.