I didn’t see this coming!
On December 31, 2019 no one could have predicted what lay ahead in the New Year. From uncontrollable wild fires that ravaged the Australian ecosystem to a Ukrainian flight crash in Tehran, Iran, killing all 176 passengers on board to the Coronavirus Pandemic touching every continent on earth besides the Antarctic.
Nor did we know that the death of George Floyd, among many others, would lead to protests and a cry for justice from countless people around the world.
Like many of you I envisioned a year full of untapped possibilities, new experiences and opportunities. In its stead, we are experiencing sorrow, frustration and uncertainty brought about by differing events taking place within our nation and around the world.
I’m sure many of you can relate to the gut wrenching feeling of not knowing what might happen from one minute to the next or what is waiting around the corner. Facing the unknown can lead to feelings of distress and helplessness.
But, does it have to be that way?
Do I have to grow discouraged and lose hope because things aren’t perfectly aligned as I had imagined? Do I have to give up my goals and plans because ‘bad things’ are happening all around me? Or, can I reassess my life circumstances and make the necessary adjustments?
Quite often we view pain and suffering as an arch enemy or unwelcomed interruption in our pursuit of personal happiness. We make every humanly attempt to repress it, fix it or get rid of it and the more we fight the more it stands its ground.
It is quite possible that suffering can serve as one of our greatest teachers. So rather than put up a fight, I propose that we lean into our pain rather than push against it. It is possible that our suffering can shape our ideas about ourselves and the world for the greater good.
How to lean into pain?
If we are open to it pain can serve as one of our greatest teachers. Suffering has a tendency to force us to examine our values, beliefs and motivations. If our actions are not aligned with our values and beliefs then maybe it is time for contemplation and self-examination.
Pain can help us reflect upon our life and make the necessary changes to grow into the person we had envisioned of ourselves. It can help us go deeper and become more introspective.
Pain can teach us life lessons from our circumstances so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes over and over. That is wisdom! It can help us develop character traits such as empathy and concern for those who are hurting and learn to be an anchor for those in need.
Suffering can help us grow in resilience. The more we learn to navigate suffering the more we can weather the storm when difficulties arise.
You are not alone!
Remember ‘No man (or woman) is an island’. It is always a good idea to garner help from the supportive people in your life or seek the support of a professional counselor.