As kids, we live mostly in the present. We don’t usually tend to have responsibilities or many cares to get carried away with. Hence, we tend to be more in the present and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. However, as we grow older, things change. We have responsibilities, dreams, future, and past to think about. And as we grow and get into strong attachments, the thought of death or loss seeps in too. Not so much our own death as much as the death of someone we love or losing someone we love. That thought becomes an acute fear for some of us too.

I had a friend who once made an SOS call to me. His father was diagnosed with a rare kind of disease and didn’t have much time to live. Perhaps a year was what the doctors had said. All hell broke loose for my friend. He was very attached to his father and couldn’t bear the thought of his death. He called me thinking I had lost my father already and dealt with that loss. So, he wanted to understand what’s that entire process going to be like.

Honestly, death and life mean different things to different people. Even if I go through a ton of deaths personally, I can never explain to someone how it would be like for them when they go through something similar. Each to their own is best applicable here. In fact, even though I dealt with one, I truly wouldn’t know how I would, the next one. I can imagine, dream, prepare, but nothing would be like the real experience.

Why is that? Because we have something called the ‘impact bias’. We over-estimate the impact or intensity of future emotional states based on our current understanding and current life situations. But when it finally happens, our estimation might not be even close to reality. That’s because as humans, we tend to rationalize anything that happens to us. As a result of it, we learn acceptance and understanding of the event. And hence, the emotions that we feel towards that incident, significantly reduce over time. The feeling might not go away but the intensity certainly comes down. We can’t hold on to the intensity of any feeling beyond a point because we tend to rationalize or add logic to make sense of whatever has happened to us. Hence, impact bias is called a bias. Not a reality. It is a misguided perception.

If someone means a lot today, I spend significant time with them and they make my life easy, I obviously cannot imagine living without them tomorrow. The thought itself may send shudders down my spine. But the good news is, god forbid, even if that happens one day, I won’t be as devastated as I imagined. I’ll quickly come to terms with reality and grab hold of myself. The time taken might differ from person to person. And how they make sense of it might differ, but we do tend to change the way we view it.

This holds true for our so-called good incidents or dreams coming true as well. We attach more significance to them and imagine ourselves being super happy when we would achieve something. But when it finally happens, we actually don’t feel as excited as we thought we’d be and the effect runs down pretty quickly too. That promotion that you always dreamt of, might have created happiness but only for a shorter period of time – until your mind finds something else to run after. The wedding that you always dreamt of too, has its effect only until a certain point. Once that effect wears off, you wake up from the fairy tale and may find reality business as usual for the most part.

So, rather than living in the fancy dreams or fears, if we recognize that this is the moment to seize since this is the only moment that’s real, life’s going to be quite stress-free. Also, you won’t save your happiness for a later date or postpone it for any reason. You will experience life in its full bloom right now.

Nothing is ever as good or as bad as we think them to be. Don’t try to prepare yourself for what might happen – life is preparing you anyways. Live this moment to the fullest. If you give it all you have, you won’t have the past to regret or the future to be fearful of. People come and people go, life continues to go on!

One Reply to “You need to know this if you have the fear of losing someone you love”

  1. Simply fantastic

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