When you experience major loss or defeat in your life, sometimes the easiest thing to do is to shut down. When your whole world falls apart, it makes sense that sometimes the most natural thing is to let the weight of it all bury you for a little bit — to choose numbness instead of working through the pain. But for most people, there comes a point (or a few points) where moving forward seems a little bit possible. And though it may not be everyone’s first choice, it’s worth it to push yourself to get there. Because while loss and grief is totally out of your control, how you respond to it is not. In fact, channeling loss into productivity can result in some of the most important creative work of your life.
Remember the brevity of life
This sounds heavy, but it’s really simple. If you’ve experienced loss, you are uniquely aware of something that most people can go through life without thinking of too much. And that’s this: life is short. In an instant, it can be over. So why waste one single second not creating that thing you’ve always wanted to create? Why not write that book that you’ve always wanted to write? Why not quit your job and try something new? This life is short, but it’s yours. This doesn’t mean you won’t be sad about who you’ve lost, but it does mean that you have an opportunity to live your life more thoughtfully.
When you find your days interrupted by thoughts of frustration or grief, it offers you a unique chance to snap yourself back to the reality that you have a choice. Since you are no longer afforded the chance to go through life without pausing to be sad or angry, use this to your advantage. Every time you feel feelings of anger or sadness, take a second to feel the emotion and then ask yourself a question: What do you want? Ask yourself what you want out of this day and out of this life. Move towards this.
Redirect your emotions
This isn’t always possible, but if you’re going to feel waves of sadness or bitterness, then there is always the opportunity to use these emotions to create something. Sometimes all we need is an extra push of something (whether that be grief or joy or something in between) to finally write that perfect paragraph or create the perfect piece of art. Our emotions push us. Sometimes they push us down or away from others, but sometimes they can push us toward something more creative.
Frustration, loss, and grief are things that every person deals with uniquely. No one should ever feel like they have to use their darkest moments to channel their creativity, but it’s certainly possible. And if you’re struggling with how to move forward amidst a tough situation, know that it’s possible — if not now, then someday.