Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's Ok If They Struggle

It's OK to sit with pain! It's OK to be in a space that seems dark, gloomy and full of despair. It's OK to be in a place of struggle, not quite knowing where the road leads. It is OK to be in that place where life seems to be smacking you around with no end in sight.

Unfortunately, for people watching someone experience these things, it is not OK. Others so badly want to deliver us from the pain and suffering. They feel it is necessary and their responsibility to do this. They struggle with difficulty to see when a person is in these moments. To them, it is not OK to see people suffer, be in pain and observe someone fighting to find their way.

Yet, just as good times are a part of life, so are the difficult times. Struggle and success are the same things, just opposites on a spectrum. Making it in life denotes that one came through the struggle. Without the struggle, they would most likely not have reached the moment they are at. It is almost like you cannot experience one without the other. Both are expected in order to fully grasp that which is good.

So often, people who care for and love others, struggle to watch another person experience what appears to be the low, difficult moments in life. These may be painful moments or times when life's problems and difficulties appear to be winning. Yet, if the individual did not experience the full range of their own life's experiences, would they truly grow in the way the needed to? Would the lesson that life was trying to offer them be taken away if they missed these true moments of stumbling? I would suggest that we need these moments because they are critical to our life. They may very likely be laying the foundation for future lessons. Without these experiences, we may not be prepared for what lies ahead.

In my own life, I was paralyzed and suffered through deep despair, depression and anxiety. I struggled to not only hold on in life but to even determine there was a path ahead for me. Yet, these moments of struggle prepared me for the road ahead. They gave me courage and strength to go into my own life's horrors. Without them, the healing that needed to happen would have been too difficult and great for me to experience.

Just like all of life is a dance, if we miss the pain, we would miss the dance. We cannot have one without the other. To wish that a person would not experience these things is to deprive them of all of their life's experiences. It is as much a part of who someone is and if we in any way hold a person back in feeling or experiencing these moments, then are we truly helping that person?

Yes, I know how hard it is to watch others deal with rough times. To see someone in pain, or dying or just struggling makes us want to ease their life through our compassionate eyes. We that love others, desire to see others in their true potential. We want them to experience the fullness of life as we see it.

Often though, our own fears, insecurities and lessons we must learn in life get in the way. Looking through our own filters, we see just one aspect of how someone's life should be. However, we may be unable to see more than that. Our fears should not dictate our interactions with others. Our fears, although well intentioned, may be holding someone back from experiencing and learning major truths for their lives.

Holding the space open means to be there with the person just as they are and having no expectations, judgments or desires. It is being there in that moment, offering yourself in a way that lets them know they can experience and travel these difficult moments to completion. It is being there for them in that moment, not concerned with how long or how difficult their struggle may be. It is clearing our own fears and insecurities in order to be fully present with them at that moment. Truly, it is a connection that goes beyond our own human understanding.

May we realize just how critical it is to be there with the person in these moments. May we realize that we may be standing at the edge of possibility and hope with them. For us to do anything less would be making ourselves and others, less than human. It is our connections that offer the greatest of love and the hope of possibility.


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