We look at our world right now and see so much pain. It is incredibly sad and yet we still have a choice on how we hold pain and suffering, both ours and others.
This pandemic has disrupted all our lives, to be sure, and transformed our daily existence. But we also each face inevitable challenges in our individual lives that we often act totally surprised when it happens to us. This, of course, creates more pain. Pain truly is part of life and always will be; no one guaranteed us an easy life as many difficult challenges happen to each of us on our journey. But pain and suffering is essential for human growth and understanding. And everything is relative; you cannot be happy unless you’ve been sad.
We may not be consciously aware of it but we all have the ability to choose how we respond to a painful situation. Often, we create a story around it and ask ourselves why is this happening to me? We get all wrapped up in an internal dialogue which creates resistance to the pain. This in turn magnifies the painful scenario and we get stuck in the pain rather than moving through it. We wonder why this happens to me and build a narrative around it that often isn’t accurate. What we are unable to see is that this is not happening to me but rather it’s just happening because things happen. We personalize it and make the issue revolve around us. If our partner drinks too much, we often make this an issue about us rather than the reality that this is a choice outside of us that others make. Granted, we may choose to stay in this destructive relationship, but we don’t need to personalize what happens. Rather, just take responsibility for yourself.
Let’s say you get rear ended in traffic. Our first impulse is to ask, why does this happen to me? We feed this narrative by saying, bad luck always follows me, what is wrong with me, I can never be happy, I always seem to attract these problems. The reality was this was just a random accident and stuff happens in life. But our inner dialogue keeps us stuck in this pain, this trauma, this victim mentality. This, in turn, creates unnecessary suffering.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you don’t have feelings around a negative situation. But don’t allow yourself to get stuck in them. Take the necessary action and move on from it, move through it. The reality is we don’t have much control over outside situations but we can choose how we manage the situation. We have the ability to choose NOT to get stuck in the trauma, simply by accepting the situation, resolving it as best we can and not letting our inner voice overdramatize the situation.
I have seen this when people have not moved through a divorce, a family dispute or loss of money, and they spend the rest of their lives living in this pain either through feeling sorry for themselves or angry at the person or situation. This is incredibly sad and unnecessary. They are taking away their lives from themselves.
Choosing to move through your pain does not diminish your experience, it simply means seeing the situation for what it is and not allowing yourself to craft a story around it that causes further pain. Accept that stuff happens in life and try not to personalize it. Acknowledge the pain, fully feel it and grieve as necessary, but move through it without getting stuck in your personal story.