Like most people in the country, I was pretty gutted when England were out of the world cup last week, but being the good sport that I am, I thought ‘well done Croatia’ and I also appreciated just how well the England team played this time around.
Of course, I was disappointed. Of course I was.
Of course I woke the next morning and felt deflated.
But I was also shocked to see people calling into ‘This Morning’ with Philip and Holly, to say that they were concerned about a loved one being depressed about the match result on Wednesday.
It got me thinking – how some of us can handle loss, or losing positively, whilst some of us, it is unthinkable and there is simply no other way to view it, than negatively. And so, this weeks post is about how to handle losing in 3 easy steps.
1. Allow yourself a time to grieve. But not for too long.
Losing something can hurt, because you place so much emphasis on the idea of what life would be like if you won. You inject energy and hope, and dreams into everything to do with the idea of winning so when you do not end up there, the feeling can be devastating.
Take the football for example, people had convinced themselves that ‘it was coming home’ so strongly that when it didn’t they definitely felt the blow. They had made plans for the final, imagined who they were going to watch it with and where and what they would do to celebrate afterwards..
Sometimes, it’s the loss of what you imagine is coming after the winning that can be shattering. Allow yourself time to grieve, and know that to be disappointed is healthy, but don’t dwell on things for too long. Look at the positives and reframe things, which I will now discuss below.
2 Appreciate that you had the opportunity to participate.
I know I know, you cannot help but read this and heat your Grannies voice in your head telling you that it’s the taking part that counts… But never a truer word spoken. Ot course, it is NATURAL and healthy to want to win in something, but you also have to gear your head towards the possibility of losing.
Of course, some would say that you must never do that, that the only way to win is to believe 100% that you will win – and I also agree with this! So, the way around this, is to work on your mindset leading up to something and make peace with the possibility of losing and then go into winning mode and totally go for it, but know that if something else did happen you are totally equipped to deal with it.
Having the opportunity to have a go at something is something that not all of us experience, so see it as a challenge and take it on the chin if you don’t get the result that you were looking for.
3. Make your peace with past experiences of losing.
Okay so it is often something that has happened in the past, maybe when we were little, that can leave us finding it hard to cope when we are faced with the prospect of losing.
That explains why some people can handle losing easily whereas for others, it comes as a real blow to them.
If for example your Father (or Mother) was one who was really convinced that if you did not win then you would be a failure, it’s no wonder that the idea of losing has become a fear for you.
Here’s a tip to help you make peace with your past, whether it’s with the person who created this fear in you or a particular experience, this exercise is quick and easy to do.
Close your eyes, and take yourself back to the time when Dad told you you were a failure, or when you had an experience of failing. Really let yourself ‘feel’ that experience. What can you remember? The smells.. the sounds… and then, when you are truly back in this picture, I want you to turn it to black and white. Just let it fade slowly to black and white. That’s it, and then imagine that your Dad has a funny wig on and looks like a clown.. or that the person that you lost against is naked. Add some theme music, maybe something funny like the Benny Hill tune, and just see this experience for what it really was. Then let it go. Thank those people and that time for teaching you a lesson. Then turn around and walk away from it. Open your eyes. How do you feel now?
Know, that if someone projected their ideals about winning (and losing) onto your that those were the ideals. Not yours. You do not have to carry them. Give yourself permission to let go of all of this.
Next time you find yourself in a situation where you are worried about losing, remind yourself that it is a part of life (don’t mean that to sound patronising but there is no other way to say it), and that you can and will cope with it. Whether it is you who is losing or you are experiencing it in another way.
Being able to take part in something is a gift, and a chance as I said, that not all of us have, so appreciate that, feel grateful, and give it your all, but don’t dwell on things for too long if things don’t work out for you.
I’d like to leave this post on this poignant note: The boy in the photo that I have put into this article… if he lost at a game of football how would you like HIM to feel? Because that’s what the boys in the England team were on that pitch.. young men with little boys still deep inside of them, who had a BIG dream of winning. And every time that YOU have a go at something, you too are taking your inner child with you.
When you see things in this way, or you think about the advice that you would give to a child that you know perhaps, and how you would want them to feel about winning, it’s suddenly easy to come up with something positive.
Well done to the lads who played really well in the world cup, you did us proud boys, and I am sure that next time around Football really will be coming home.
Until the next time,
Christopher Paul Jones, The Breakthrough Expert.