By definition, “mất” has different meanings based on the context of the subject. They can stand for when you have lost a certain direction, someone, or something. In other words, this word describes something or somebody who is no longer existing.
On the contrary, “mất” does not mean you have lost. In Vietnamese, when you lose in a competition or a game, the word for this situation is “thua,” not “mất.” However, if you let a losing game defines or limits the growth of your character, then you have “lost” a large part of yourself.
At some point in our lives, the act of sharing happiness versus sharing sadness will be equally exhausting. There is no specifications for those two spectrums of emotions, only the aftermaths of losing and gaining. You lost a loved one through a breakup, you lost a loved one through an illness, and you lost yourself trying to live someone else’s life. At the end of our lives, it will not be about what we have lost, it’s about what we have gained, learned, and healed from it all.
These thoughts I have learned through the wise words Trịnh Công Sơn, one of Vietnam’s ultimate virtuoso.