Each of us handle hardships and loss in our own unique way. That way is an amalgam of our values, beliefs, personality traits, past experiences, fears, wants and needs.
Some people run away, looking for any means to escape their confusion and upset, pain and suffering. Denial or feigned indifference leads them to suppress their emotions, their smile exaggerated and their laughter loud. Their positive spirit leans toward the extreme, as if there is nothing wrong at all. This can be temporary or permanent, a life filled with escapes used as coping mechanisms to quell emotions. They may live large, overcompensate and avoid any opportunity to be alone with their feelings for the fear this would debilitate them.
Others dive right into their thoughts, feelings and emotions until they find themselves drowning in misery. They rehash, dwell and obsess. They can’t stop asking themselves why, wondering if they could have handled things differently or continually beat themselves up for every mistake they made. They can’t let go. They shut themselves off and isolate, going through the motions of life because they need to, while numb to any feelings or emotions whatsoever. Eventually they move forward, but never move on because they are stuck in an emotional state that they cannot free themselves of. They are tied to their pain and suffering.
I was reminded of this today, as I endure a heavy situation that has weighed me down for quite some time. And over the course of my life, I’ve handled matters both ways – through denial and escape, and through isolation and withdrawal.
What lessons I’ve learned as I continue to live, love, succeed, fail and evolve. Today, I’m honest with myself and others. Even when I hurt, I trust that the pain is temporary, even if the grief is chronic. We can live fully with chronic conditions- including heartache and loss. And wallowing in the pain is not healthy. Sometimes the best remedy is getting busy and getting on. It can quiet the mind, and soothe the soul.
When we face matters head on, acknowledging the pain and allowing the sorrow and sadness to flow through us, we allow ourselves the opportunity to grow. When we are honest with ourselves and willing to look at our shortcomings, flaws and mistakes, we allow ourselves the opportunity to learn. And when we realize that we cannot control the outcome of a situation, but we can control how we react to it, we allow ourselves the opportunity to heal.
Life is not easy. It is filled with ups and downs, starts and stops. There is much happiness to be sought and much sorrow to endure.
We owe it to ourselves to acknowledge our feelings. We can get mad, be sad and feel confused. Yet we need to set a limit on it. Not a limit by means of a particular date or time, but a limit by means of carrying on while processing our emotions.
Grieving is a part of life, but it doesn’t need to be a way of life. You owe it to yourself to recognize the difference. Grief ebbs and flows, some days we carry it easier than others, yet it never goes away which is why we cannot set a date or time. Healing happens in it’s own due time, but only when you take that step forward.
No matter how heavy you may feel today, there will come a tomorrow when you realize that you’re smiling, laughing and living again. There may be moments of sorrow, but there will also be bittersweet smiles and meaningful memories.
Know when to say when then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and take the steps necessary to re-engage in your life.