You know that horrible feeling when you realize you left your purse or wallet ten miles back at the restaurant? You get that sick-to-your-stomach aching as you begin to pray feverishly that it’s still there; hopefully some nice person found it and turned it in, or by some miracle, no one has seen it and it’s just sitting there waiting patiently for your return.
Although the feeling may be slightly different, more or less intense, it’s a similar feeling when you think you’re going to be fired by your employer, or dumped by your partner, or replaced by your client. That pit in your stomach that feels as intense as a punch in the gut - it’s a feeling of rejection, caused by loss, and fed by fear.
Yup, that 4 letter “F” word none of us like to admit we have - FEAR. It’s not to say fear is always bad. In fact, if we recognize what it is, it can alert us to focus on thoughts and beliefs that are helpful, rather than reacting in a panic with assumptions and taking it personally.
With the purse or wallet you left behind, you think objectively about it and make a quick call to the establishment to see if someone turned it in or if someone could go look for it in the booth. But when it’s something with an emotional tie, we tend to panic and we think less objectively. All these deep fears surface and start to pull us under – I’m not good enough, fast enough, young enough, savvy enough. We lose the ability to ask objective questions. We begin to believe something that we don’t even know for sure, and then we act as if it’s true. We believe it’s all about us and end up taking it very personally.
If the purse or wallet is gone, we’ve already started thinking about what we need to do: cancel the credit cards, apply for a new driver’s license, and we begin the emotional process of letting go of any irreplaceables. If it’s true that we are being dumped or fired or replaced, the biggest reason we can’t be as objective is our fear that we won’t find another job, or another partner, or another client.
Imagine if you could feel that pain in your gut, and react more objectively. As soon as you felt the emotion, you would recognize it as fear, and ask yourself objective questions:
What thoughts are flooding my mind right now?
What beliefs are those thoughts tied to?
Am I only thinking from my angle right now; is there anything else to consider?
Can I be patient and not jump to conclusions, and actions I might regret?
What am I most afraid of?
Do I truly believe in abundance, and that I will be alright no matter what?
The next time you get that feeling, use it as an opportunity to be mindful of what assumptions you might be making, and what fears might be driving you. Always remember, a time of loss can be a great opportunity for self-reflection and growth. Most of us who reflect over a loss will see this to be true.