Elizabeth Gilbert lost her best friend and wife, Rayya Elias, after a tough pancreatic and liver cancer diagnosis. The Big Magic author recently talked with Marie Forleo and shared what things were like now:
There was a life I could only have with Rayya, and there is also a life I could only have without Rayya, and that life is just beginning... There is a whole changed world without her and I am equally fascinated with that world.
Brief, powerful and beautiful. Here's what you can take away from Gilbert's honest take.
Certain things you wish didn't happen allowed other things to happen
It's not a matter of denying the pain or the struggle behind loss. During my roughest times, I first had to fight to accept my grief. No, things aren't OK. And no, I don't want to hear that there was some strange logic behind what happened. I want to be sad and angry and everything in-between.
After that, though, opportunities and awakenings begin. Your startup may have to shut down, but you then have the chance to do something different. You may not have gotten a highly-desired promotion, and yet it forces you to reconsider your career in new ways.
Loss makes us let go of our current perception.
Loss gives you the opportunity to reassess and reclaim your own traits
Here's something you may not know: I didn't intend on being a solopreneur. A business partner dropped the ball on our venture, and I was suddenly on my own launching my first startup - as I became the primary caretaker of my newborn baby. For a little while, it was hell.
I rose to the occasion and did two startups, having enough success to exit the second startup. My experience became the best-selling book series The Bite-Sized Entrepreneur. This column wouldn't even exist without that journey.
Most importantly, I took my traits back. The former business partner, established entrepreneurs I knew, and even programmers I respected all seemed to know what they were doing more than I did. Keep in mind, I was a full-time journalist and author, not a Silicon Valley veteran. Consciously and unconsciously, I would defer to them rather than fully trusting my own capabilities.
When my partner left, I was forced to recognize my own latent strengths I always attributed to them. I became the lead programmer, the main spokesperson, the top networker and the VC outreach coordinator (and more!) simply because I had to. Those skills would not have been revealed without that loss.
Think about a loss you may be grieving now. Now, if you can, picture a time when your grieving will end. What new parts of yourself will come out after you heal? It may help you shift on the spectrum, if only a bit, from mourning the past to curiosity for the future. Remember that loss doesn't just represent a death, but also a rebirth of you and your life, too.