Loss can mean that one no longer has someone or something they valued. Losing — whether in war or in a personal battle or in life in general — can also mean a failure to deal with difficulties or meet a challenge or can mean to be defeated by an opponent. What have people said about losing and losers?

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.

— Alphonse de Lamartine

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

— Anne Lamott

Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.

— Brené Brown

Winning may not be everything, but losing has little to recommend it.

— Dianne Feinstein

Like the other stages of grief, saying goodbye is not as easy as it sounds. Saying goodbye requires us to make our loss a memory.

— Donnie D. Davis, Getting the Axe Without Losing Your Head

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one, you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.

— Elizabeth Kubler-Ross & John Kessler

Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell.

— Emily Dickinson

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

— Henri Nouwen

We must learn to detach ourselves from all that is capable of being lost, to bind ourselves absolutely only to what is absolute and eternal, and to enjoy the rest as a loan.

— Henri-Frederic Amiel

Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.

— Jamie Anderson

One may summon his philosophy when they are beaten in battle, not till then.

— John Burroughs

Something Beautiful Remains
The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, yet echoes on in sweet, soulful refrains.
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.

— Martha Vashti Pearson, Rivers in the Ocean

The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings. If we refuse to hold them in the hopes of living without doubt, despair, and pain, we also find ourselves living without faith, hope, and love.

— Parker J. Palmer

Most days I live awed by the world we have still, rather than mourning the worlds we have lost…. So much beauty I often laugh, and my day is made. Still if you wanted to, I think, you could feel sadness without end.

— Paul Bogard

We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.

— Queen Victoria

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whoever is able to write a book and does not, it is as if he has lost a child.

— Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Grief can awaken us to new values and new and deeper appreciations. Grief can cause us to reprioritize things in our lives, to recognize what’s really important and put it first. Grief can heighten our gratitude as we cease taking the gifts life bestows on us for granted. Grief can give us the wisdom of being with death. Grief can make death the companion on our left who guides us and gives us advice. None of this growth makes the loss good and worthwhile, but it is the good that comes out of the bad.

— Roger Bertschausen, Beyond Absence: A Treasury Of Poems, Quotations, And Readings On Death And Remembrance

Anything you lose comes around in another form.

— Rumi

Perhaps; but is it not Tennyson who has said: ”Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have lost at all’?

— Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.

— Scott Alexander

Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you.

— Selma Lagerlöf

Of course, rationally I knew the universe wasn’t fair and was never going to be—there are no rules or standards for who wins and who loses. Life isn’t fair even when we ostensibly have some degree of control. Life and death just are. Fair has nothing to do with it.

— Susan D Hoben, Dying Well

In that inevitable, excruciatingly human moment, we are offered a powerful choice. This choice is perhaps one of the most vitally important choices we will ever make, and it determines the course of our lives from that moment forward. The choice is this: Will we interpret this loss as so unjust, unfair, and devastating that we feel punished, angry, forever and fatally wounded– or, as our heart, torn apart, bleeds its anguish of sheer, wordless grief, will we somehow feel this loss as an opportunity to become more tender, more open, more passionately alive, more grateful for what remains?

— Wayne Muller

If one has to submit, it is wasteful not to do so with the best grace possible.

— Winston Churchill
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