Tuesday, August 11, 2015
When we move beyond the shock of a life-changing, emotional situation, it is wise to reflect. Reflection is where we discover clarity and achieve growth. Reflection gives us the space to articulate our feelings and shows us how to work through and with those feelings. Reflection provides us with the confidence to know that we will survive future hardships and the guidance needed to move beyond survival. Yet what are we supposed to do make it to that point? How do we find our way out of heartache while in the center of it? How do we push further when we already feel completely stretched? How do we find the strength to go on when it takes everything in us just to function? The short answer is to do exactly what we don't feel like doing.
When life delivers a significant blow our initial reaction is tied to our comfort zone. Some of us run. We run to work, run to take care of others, run to activities, run to retail therapy, or even run to create a totally different life. We run because it seems safer than remaining. We are comforted by the distractions and convince ourselves that being removed from the situation will remove us from the heartache. However, heartache cannot be outran. It attaches itself to us, taking a free ride wherever we go. When we exhaust ourselves from running, there it is, ready to be dealt with while we're out of energy and sometimes, out of the range of our support system.
Instead of running to things, people, and new surroundings, some of us retreat. Some of us take all of the hurt, anger, and fear and internalize it. We tell ourselves that talking about it is pointless because it will not change the situation. Or we believe that we can't trust anyone with it. The truth is that we don't trust ourselves to be that open. We are terrified that if we open up we will lose control so we sentence ourselves to silence. We think our heartache is losing its strength and power under our self-imposed gag order while it is actually increasing as it feeds off of our strength and depletes us of our power.
I have been guilty of both running and retreating. In each case, I tried to ignore my emotions, foolishly hopeful that since they weren't invited they would take the hint and leave. Whether I ran or retreated, they never left. They simply waited. This time around, I'm doing neither. I'm doing what is not tied to my comfort zone. I'm not running. I'm not retreating. I'm doing exactly what I don't feel like doing. I'm pressing through. I'm finding my message in the midst of the haze. I am dealing.
Instead of running, I'm acknowledging what I feel and not categorizing those feelings as right or wrong nor good or bad. They simply are. Instead of retreating, I'm actively reaching out to those who support me. I want more so I am doing more. When I reach the reflection phase of this particular situation, I will have more strength, more courage, and more confidence in my ability to do more than simply survive.