By Stacey Rose, PhD, LCSW
Maybe you know someone who died too soon. Maybe you know someone who suffered a traumatic loss or deep pain that doesn’t go away easily. Maybe you know what it is like to love and lose that someone. If so, you are living a full life; because loss is a part of the human experience. Every day in my office, I hear people talk about what they lost or what they are afraid to lose. For some it is the loss of a parent, friend, spouse or even child. All are devastating in their own way. For others it is the loss of a job, a career, health, money, or even loss of control. So, maybe you know…
And if you do know what it is like to lose, maybe you know what it is like to win. Maybe you know what it is like to gain a friend, give birth to a baby, get a raise, get into a new relationship, get a clean bill of health from the doctor, or to simply relish in joy on a nice day. But this is not about winning or losing, this is about how to live life in a way that is whole. Most people want to avoid pain at all costs. While this is completely understandable, pain often is accompanied by a gift. In other words, every experience can teach us an important lesson, if we are open to it. So, if we ‘cheat’ ourselves of a painful experience, we ‘cheat’ ourselves of the gifts it offers too. The more we avoid pain, the less we grow and evolve emotionally.
The choice is yours. Do you want a full life; one that includes hurt and sadness too? Most people would say no immediately. But think before you respond. By saying no to pain, we never truly appreciate joy. Sadness allows us to appreciate happiness. Feeling ill allows us to fully appreciate feeling well, just like cloudy days allow us to appreciate sunny days. You get the point. If life were all good, all the time, we wouldn’t even realize it.
So, take a moment right now; think about some of the deep and intense emotional experiences you have had in your life. Maybe, you are in the midst of one right now. Breathe into it. Welcome it because it has something to teach you; something you may not have learned without it. As trite as it may sound, it is true…”what doesn’t kill us, does make us stronger.” I would add to that… ‘if we let it’.
One of the services I offer is helping people manage the pain of life. Through guided imageries, meditations, and learning new tools to cope with these challenges, there are ways to move through these times without being debilitated by them. Sometimes, we can actually be transformed by them.
Again, it is your choice to decide how you want to go through the one life you have. Do you want a full experience including a full range of emotions; or would you prefer a safer and more limited experience in life? The choice is yours… Either way I remind you that simply by being human, we all know…