When we experience profound setbacks in the course of an enviable life, we have a variety of options. Spurred by guilt and shame, we may attempt to hide the evidence of the change in our circumstances. We hold on to our finer possessions — our nice clothes, shoes and jewellery, the beautiful furniture in our home, the car we drive — anything which is outwardly a symbol that we are still thriving. Until we wear holes in our clothes, we wear the heels off and scuff our shoes, and our furniture starts to fray away.
We tell stories of the times we visited the wonders of the world, met famous people and frequented mansions. We regale anecdotes of parties where we are no longer welcome, and of our time when we had memberships which have since lapsed.
By contrast, in a state of self-pity and self-loathing, we may retreat from our friends and the world where we once felt we belong, to suffer in silence on our own, feeling it is easier that way. Feeling it is more manageable if no one can see us. Either way, it can feel like a fall from grace.
Whether it is caused by the loss of a job, divorce or separation, change in career, an injury, health conditions or anything else that changes the trajectory of our life, these things imprint, causing a void or hole in our life. For example, so many of us in the world right now are learning to live a new COVID normal; we may not be working, not earning, not living, not socialising and not functioning — creating a distinct feeling of loss. A loss of a sense of who we are. Of what we are worth. Of belonging. Of lack of certainty, and we are unsure of what to do next.