When hardship happens in your life, how do you handle it? Do you metaphorically throw yourself down on the floor and have a kicking, screaming tantrum? Or do you accept it as part of life, push through it and grow in the process? Most of us would like to be able to give the latter answer, but in truth, our human nature oftentimes takes us the route of the tantrum – at least at first. When pain and loss strike, how do we move from Victim to Victorious?
First and foremost, we have to allow ourselves to feel the pain of what is happening at an appropriate level. Many people minimize their pain, or shall we say ‘talk themselves out of it’ by comparing their pain to someone in a worse position. Somewhere along the road, someone has suggested that they shouldn’t feel pain about the things going on in their lives. We all have pain – and it hurts! Even if someone else is experiencing something more painful, your pain is still real and it still hurts. You are allowed to feel it and grieve whatever loss you experienced, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
If you look at what I said earlier, however, you will see that I ended it with “feel the pain . . . at an appropriate level.” Some people take their pain to the other extreme and feel as though their world has ended. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are a drama king or queen, it is more likely that they have deep wounds attached to their loss and they have never really learned how to deal with loss when it occurs. If not careful, these people can spend the rest of their lives as victims of their loss and will never find peace.
Once we’ve allowed ourselves to feel the pain of our loss, moving into the next stage of recovery takes a tremendous amount of strength. We have to let go of the past and move ourselves (sometimes forcibly) into the future. Everyone will do this at their own pace and what triggers us to finally make the shift will be different for everyone. For me, they were comments from people close to me that kind of stung. As I was crying about what had happened, someone said something about me “wallowing in it”. Ouch! While the comment stung, I came to realize that I had a choice. . . I could choose to wallow in my pain for the rest of my life – or – I could choose to live. I chose the latter.
I finally came to accept that pain is part of life and that I can’t escape this life without it. I realized that I get to choose whether I spend my life locked inside my house with my pain or embracing all that life has to offer.
Everyone gets to make their own choice. If we stay stuck in the pain of the past, we allow whatever hurt us to hurt us even more. If we choose to move forward from it and embrace life, however, we move from victim to Victorious!!