There are three types of dying
Notice the title isn‘t three types of death.
Most people when they consider the concept of death only think about physical death, but I believe there are two others that are just as serious although not as permanent as the final one.
Yes, we are all one day going to die. It’s a given regardless of your gender, race, nationality, age, education, wealth, lifestyle, spiritual values or any other life area or circumstance.
But before we die is it possible to slowly die in other ways? I believe the answer is yes.
In my opinion, the other two types of dying are emotional dying and then there is spiritual dying, let me explain.
Over the years I have met many wonderful people who were engaging, fun, respectful and playful but I have also met some folks who were no longer connected, engaged or participating in life emotionally.
These were not necessarily people who were sick physically or even poor, alone or without a history of success or achievement. But they were people who no longer wanted to participate in life with others whether family, friends, co-workers or even strangers now and then.
They were emotionally lost, afraid and often even had given up on life, not to the point of suicide but that they no longer cared about others and whether other people cared about them.
They were not necessarily loners or living alone or old and frail, or even without what others would feel are reasons to live or were addicted to some substance. They just lost any zest, reason or purpose for embracing life as it was and was given to them.
They were emotionally disconnected or in my opinion, they were dying slowly but steadily. Ever known anyone like this?
And then there is spiritual death.
Regardless of your religion, beliefs, spiritual values or any other attitudes that you embrace one common element in all of them are that there are characteristics that are a p[art of them we don’t or never will completely understand and that we all for our personal reasons believe in this other, higher, or significant power no matter what.
So, I don’t confuse you, I am a Christian and believe in God. But, I also know that I don’t have the right to tell you or anyone else what you should believe or how or why. Having said this, I also know that there are some common traits in most spiritual belief systems. It is not my intent with this article to dig into these beliefs or values (that’s a book) but to just share what I believe by spiritual dying.
In many ways, non-believers in any religion, spiritual system or a higher power, in my opinion, are already dying, but again I am not going to go deeper into this topic either.
But, I can guess that depending on your spiritual values or beliefs some of you have either stopped reading or are getting ready to send me an email.
As a global speaker (25 countries and counting) I have attended churches, synagogues and been in buildings that were promoted as religious facilities in almost every country. Yes, I must admit that on a few occasions during the services, I left early as the messages were very uncomfortable.
But, back to the topic of focus here. What is spiritual dying?
If you believe in a higher power, God or some distant being who guides areas of your life and being - when you lose this foundation or these bearings for any reason you will tend to feel lost, alone, abandoned and out of touch with others, life and often your reason for being or even living. I have known a few people during my life travels who were experiencing these very circumstances and there was nothing anyone could do to help them get back their life spirit, purpose or sense of personal value. As a result, many people in these negative circumstances do in fact turn to drugs or even suicide.
What are some answers if you feel you are, or you know someone who is slowly dying in one of these areas?
I am not a psychologist or therapist and don’t have the right to give advice but what I can tell you is there are generally five things others can do to help them;
1) Don’t invalidate them because of their behaviors or actions. 2) Don’t abandon them because they are no longer who you want or need them to be in your life. 3) Don’t judge them. None of us are perfect. 4) Listen to them with compassion and understanding. 5) Urge them gently to participate in counseling or therapy.
What people who are emotionally or spiritually dying need in my opinion are compassion, understanding, empathy and often even some tough love.