I believe we humans spend a lot of energy avoiding sorrow. We often associate grief with death, in truth, it's experiencing a loss, which is something we encounter quite often. Loss is moving out of a home, not getting the job offer we hoped for, the end of a relationship, and losing a pet. Loss is when we spend less time with someone, something, or someplace than we used to.
What do we usually do when faced with grief? We avoid and deny it by trying to replace the thing we lost; we jump into another relationship and get a new pet. Or perhaps we drink, eat or use drugs to numb and ignore our sorrow. And what stories do we tell ourselves to justify our avoidance strategies?
One of my sons recently went to live with his father. It was a choice neither he nor I wanted, yet was an inevitable outcome of circumstances. It was a decision I made despite the tremendous pain I would endure without him living in my home. Joey bet on me avoiding the pain of losing him when he continued to make choices that hurt us both. Even at his young age, he knows that not many will endure pain in hopes of a greater good.
Not long after sending Joey to his father's home I was faced with the decision to put one of our family pets down. I bargained and guilted myself in hopes of postponing or eluding grief altogether. But to what end?
In both cases, it would have been easy to ignore the truth and continue status quo to escape my sorrow. I wonder how much energy we spend delaying or fleeing the pain of grief with distraction, simply for our personal benefit? How many lives do we extend when the fair and humane thing to do is to say goodbye? How often do we stay in relationships that are neither compassionate or reciprocal and perhaps even painful because we're afraid to say farewell for good? How often do we stay in jobs that bring out the worst in us because it's too scary to leave?
What is the worst thing that might happen if you feel your sorrow rather than masking, avoiding, dulling, or denying it? [Painful feelings] Then what?
What is the best thing that might happen if you acknowledge and allow your sorrow? [Resiliency]
What does it take to have the insight to know when you're avoiding grief? And what do you get on the other side of it? I believe courage, perseverance, and confidence are a solid foundation for insight and withstanding grief; and what you manifest twofold at the other end. Courage involves taking action in the face of risk or vulnerability. Perseverance is voluntarily continuing a course of action in spite of obstacles and difficulty. And confidence is believing that the desired outcome is achievable as well as believing in one's capabilities.
Are these strengths not worth more than what you earn while evading reality?
What might you gain if you step into sorrow with receptive willingness?
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian