|Norman Cousins (1912 – 1990)
This is a quote from Norman Cousins (1912 – 1990) who was an American journalist and editor in chief of the Saturday Review for over 35 years. He was known for his quotes on life, death, laughter, and health.
When we think about loss, most times our minds go to people we have lost in death. But Cousins said losing someone wasn’t the greatest loss of all; he posited that the death of what lies inside us while we yet live is the greatest loss.
For me, I thought about things that I have lost. For instance, I feel a piece of me was killed when I went through years of abuse. I lost myself and my potential. I lost my youth, my innocence, my ability to be touched without recoil. I lost my ability to love and be loved, my ability to feel happiness, to feel relaxed and at peace in the moment. I could continue on about my losses, but I’m sure you get the point and could list losses of your own.
Here’s the trick though. I believe it is up to each of us to “resurrect” or reinvent the pieces we have lost, that have died inside us. See, Cousins said to lose those things was the greatest loss, but I believe they don’t have to remain absent. Though I struggle in wanting to get better, I am working on reclaiming what was lost, what was taken from me. Unlike death, happiness, or a form of it, is something I can recover, and even experience now in bits and pieces. Losing what lies inside us is worse than death, but it doesn’t mean we have to lose it forever.
I can make the changes now, no matter how small, how much I don’t want to, or how difficult it is. I can work on restoring my life, and I can get back what was taken from me, what died inside me. It’s simply a question of how much do I want to reclaim what was taken and how willing I am to fight for what belongs to me. Just like essayist Anais Nin said, “The day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” It’s time for us to blossom, to reclaim what others took and what we lost to our abuse.
I would like to know your thoughts.
What does this quote mean to you?
What things have you lost?
How do you think we can reclaim them?