With yesterday?s tragic spa shooting in Brookfield and so many people going through trauma and challenges in their own lives, thought this might be helpful to us all. Take a step back and really open yourself up to the pain and/or loss. Will it control your life and bring you down? Or, will it change you for the better? What will you choose?
Written by: Gabe Martinez, the owner and main author of the blog ImprovemenTools, where he writes about self-improvement and gives his readers tools to help them grow.
Photo by h.koppdelaney
By Gabe Martinez
Pain and loss is a reality that we all have to deal with in our lives from time to time. It can control our lives and bring us down, or it can actually cause us to change in good ways and make us better.
It?s easy for us to want to push aside our negative feelings and not acknowledge their existence. We want to feel good and be happy all of the time.
And there?s nothing wrong with wanting happiness.
But what if when pain, heartache, or loss strike us, they can actually change us to make us better people? And what if it can help us deal better with future occurrences of pain?
Back in 2007 on the day after Christmas, I lost my best friend of many years to a brain tumor. Naturally, much grief and pain followed for quite some time. I became hopeless, I felt powerless, and I felt overwhelmed.
I also felt confused and I started wondering why these sorts of things happen.
At one point I could tell that these feelings were beginning to have a solid grip on my life. They were able to dictate how I acted and felt about similar situations.
That?s when I realized that I needed to make some positive changes, despite such negative circumstances.
Realize that good comes out of all bad
This is probably the first thing that helped me to deal with my grief and heartache. Realizing that good can come out of bad situations is a powerful realization.
I said to myself there must be a reason that humans feel such horrible feelings.
Though these feelings are considered ?bad? and ?negative,? they are really our allies.
Grieving and heartache means we are filled with love
It reminds us of how much we love others, which triumphs over all negative feelings. For most of us negative feelings are temporary, and feelings of love for our friends and family are permanent. Realizing this helped me in dealing with the loss of my best friend. It reminded me that I loved him dearly, which brought me much comfort. I would be very worried had I not felt grief after his death. That would?ve meant that I didn?t love him like a friend. But the grief reminded me otherwise. This is one of the ways good things come out of bad situations.
By accepting these feelings instead of wanting to push them aside, we are opening ourselves to more love and good feelings. Using this fact will help us to grow, even during our heartache. It will also prepare us in dealing with future situations that bring sorrow.
Pain and sorrow are a transition to new opportunities
We know that life changes rapidly and unexpectedly. My life instantly changed the moment I found out of my friend?s passing. At one point I felt hopeless. But when I decided to use those feelings to my advantage, I flipped them on their head.
Dealing with loss is a period of transition. But it is a period of transition to new and greater things. During my period of grief, I transitioned to a period of personal growth. I was able to easily reach out to my friends and family who were experiencing the same feelings.
By doing this not only did I grow as a person, it made the process much easier and quicker for all of us. We were able to grow together. Keeping this mentality helped me to realize that it?s ok to feel these feelings instead of wanting to push them aside so quickly. Had I pushed them aside, I would?ve crawled up in a corner and not had the opportunity to grow closer to my friends and family. I would?ve missed out on the opportunity to grow.
Learn to welcome pain, heartache, and loss
It sounds kind of strange that I?m saying that we should welcome the pain. Who wants to welcome any kind of pain? Welcoming in this context simply means acceptance.
By welcoming the pain, sorrow, and loss we are accepting that it?s there. By acknowledging its existence, we are allowing ourselves to begin the process of getting through the transition phase.
Grieving allows you to get more in touch with yourself
Most people would want to get rid of the bad feelings as quickly as possible in order to jump right back to happiness. We?ll distract ourselves any which way like connecting more to our computers and phones, or maybe even resort to drug and alcohol abuse.
The reason I welcomed the grief and sorrow over the death of my friend is because it really helped me to be more in touch with myself and know myself better. Sure I could?ve distracted myself however I could, but looking into myself is another way to help me grow.
No one wants to feel these feelings, but when they do come (because they will) they can really help you to be more in touch with yourself, which leads to more learning and greater opportunities.
When it?s over, you will have a new and better outlook on life
Though I still have a hard time when I think about my friend, I have a different outlook on life. Here are some things that will help you turn bad times into an opportunity to get more out of your life:
- Appreciate your loved ones more. Every relationship has its ups and downs. There are the occasional times when we fight with each other. But in the end you?re still friends. You never know when life will make a sudden change. One thing my friend?s passing helped to realize is that whenever I?m angry with any of my friends or family, I think about my best friend and realize that life is too valuable and short to be spending time fighting. I?d rather spend that time helping myself to grow as well as others.
- Appreciate your own life. Sometimes we take our own lives for granted. Like
maybe spending too much time watching TV or lying around. My best friend?s life was cut short. This could happen to any of us. I realized that I should take advantage of any opportunity I have to be more productive and better my relationships and myself.
- Realize your strength. I felt weak at the time of my friend?s death because I
decided to let my feelings control me. When I made the decision to turn that around and instead control my feelings, I realized how much strength I had. Growing as a person also means growing stronger. By accepting the hurt, going through the transition, and finally getting over it, you will have come out a much stronger person. This strength is not only beneficial to you, but it will help you to be strong for those who are going through rough times.
Pain, heartache and loss will always be a part of our lives and is sometimes unavoidable. But I hope that we can all realize the good that can still come out these times. It?s up to you to make the change and take the reigns to your feelings. But when you do, it will surely change your life for the better.
Here?s to choosing to?learn from?the pain and/or loss and in choosing to?opening up ourselves to allow it to make us?better. Have a great week everyone!
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