Navigating Through Difficulty: How Losing Something Can Help You Gain More

by Fatima Faisal

I had been stuck in the humdrum security blanket of familiarity for my entire life. I was too safe to get hurt, too safe to be touched and too safe to be moved — I was absolutely sheltered. I always had something to catch me; my safe haven always near. But, I wanted to step away from my comfort that was forever in arm’s reach. I needed to find something.

I chose to go when everyone wanted me to dwell. The clouds sped by me and I hoped the turbulence wasn’t indicative of the adventure before me.

I came in wide-eyed and searching through the array of red double-decker buses for a quick answer. I wanted to feel an immediate sense of change, but for days I felt nothing but emptiness and defeat. Maybe I was mistaken — maybe some birds really aren’t meant to fly.

So I tearfully shuffled along, mourning the things I had abandoned. I traveled abroad, embracing the expectation that my life would turn into plot a la, “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” and my foreign excursion would help me discover what I’d been seeking all along.

But as soon as I stepped onto British soil, my luggage, my laptop, my passport and my visa were nowhere to be found; I had found nothing but loss.

I sat uncomfortably on cobblestone, repeatedly murmuring “why me” when I got a phone call telling me that my possessions were in one of London’s darkest corners. Although I was relieved that my belongings were no longer amiss, I found myself reflecting on the lessons I learned from losing everything, rather than the actual materials.

Among the things we lose, we find things that are new. We are so encumbered by defeat that we stop searching for gains. I diligently focused on what was taken from me rather than being concerned about what came from the loss.

When humans die, more are born; creation replaces loss. We are so conditioned to associate pain with goodbyes that we often forget they can also encompass hellos.

I was so directly searching for this instant, gratifying change and that magical epiphany, that I failed to see that the change I so desired existed within the chain of my unfortunate events. I discovered new ways to handle stressful situations. I learned that experience is the best teacher and that everything happens for a reason. The more I lost, the more I gained.

When we feel loss, we feel a sense of lacking and a desire to obtain what can no longer be. However, if we stop looking for the intangible and attempt to embrace the potential for newness that accompanies loss, we can prevent ourselves from suffering.

Don’t examine loss negatively, for although it takes away, it allows for significant growth. Whether this loss is a person, a job or a belonging, some gain will replace the emptiness.

When we lose the wrong people, we’re more open to finding the right people; when we leave grueling jobs to find one that fits better, we’ll ultimately be happier. Each loss brings a lesson and a story — the loss potentially leads to a greater gain.

We should work to embrace losses as blessings; they save us from greater loss and bring us to the moments we're supposed to experience. We can comfortably stay within the confinements of safety on a direct course, or we can take the reins and fly somewhere unfamiliar.

Just don’t be afraid to lose — in the end, there is so much to gain in loss’s wake.

Photo via We Heart It