Most of us resist loss at all cost. We hold on to relationships that may have run its course. We hold on to our ego drives and get rigid about our little neuroses, even when there is no real purpose other than defending ourselves. We resist accepting that certain behaviors are maladaptive just because we don’t want to admit that we are wrong.
Many addictions are nothing but a cover up to face losses that are too painful to bear.
But there is an upside to loss that we don’t take into account when we so desperately try to fend it off: As soon as we can truly let go, there is freedom to be gained. And isn’t freedom one of the most prized rewards we are seeking?
The trouble with craving freedom is that we usually don’t want it to involve pain. We’d like to be able to be free of our bad habits and our defensiveness just like that. But it’s hard to let go of that. It always involves pain or even humiliation. Nobody chooses to be humiliated.
But after we mourn those ego losses, and if we can shrug them off and see them as a necessary part of maturation, we can truly be free. We can shed the shackles of our fears and anxieties and just be.
The less involved your ego is in a situation, the more freedom we have to do what we want. By experiencing a loss, we are shown that our attachment to material objects or to certain personal relationships have prevented us from being free. Our confusion and fear is usually nothing but our ego’s relentless drive to maintain the game it is playing, and to resist loss.
Only when we learn to let go can we truly be free.
Gerti Schoen is a writer and psychotherapist. In her spare time she enjoys learning, being in nature and around animals.