I used to be a ranked tennis player and unfortunately, I developed knee problems, which eventually forced me to stop playing. That’s a loss, a loss of a certain piece of mobility, a loss of a sport, a loss of a part of myself. And right now, we are all experiencing loss on a daily basis. We just don’t tend to think about it like that.
A lot of loss is out of our control.
Loss is inevitable. It is going to hit us at some stage. And often, when loss happens, it’s out of our control: somebody dies; a dog had to be put down, divorce happens. In all of those examples there’s somebody who had no choice in the matter.
When thinking about right relationship with loss, we can start by considering our locus of control. Where is it that I have control in this situation? And where is it that I have zero control? And what about the grey space in-between, where do I have some influence?
Many people right now feel like they have no control, no influence, it’s beyond them. Now it’s always been like that but because of the pandemic, it’s in our faces on a daily basis. In order to step into right relationship with loss we start by exploring our loss of control, through a locus of control conversation:
- What do I have zero control over?
- What do I have some influence over?
- What do I have locus of control over?
Relationship with Loss
One thing we can always control is our relationship with loss. We can choose if we want to fight it, or bargain with it. Or we can choose how we want to feel about it while we navigate it.
So I encourage you to practice having the locus of control conversation with a manageable situation. For example, I might ask myself: What is my locus of control with regards to being at home? I can’t control the fact that I need to be in shelter. So what can I influence? And what are the things that I can negotiate and do? Well I can go for a drive. And I have full control whether I’m going to make the best of it, or whether I need a day to grieve. That is right relationship. Knowing those three different places in a process and honouring them is one of the best ways we can be in right relationship with loss. We can honour what we can’t control, explore what we have some influence over and take charge of what we can.
The power of losing control
Interestingly, the more we start to have these kinds of conversations about our lack of control, the more we feel empowered to take charge of what we can. To quote Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” There are many things in life that are out of our control, so let’s take charge of the one thing we can: our response. We can choose how we want to show up in a crisis.
And we can choose how we want to show up in our relationship with loss.