Feeling Means You’re Dealing

Feeling Means Your Dealing - Cheryl Woolstone Counselling Blog

Pain may actually be the best thing that happens to you.

It could be the only thing that moves you forward.

Sounds so cliche, I know, trying to convince you on the benefits of pain and loss, but lets dig a little deeper.

I recently finished an amazing book, The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion.

In her book, Bounce Back, Karen Salmansohn, shares her insights into the process of grief and loss. Her thoughts are as follows:

Joan shares the many ways that she chose to avoid feeling the pain of her husband’s sudden loss. She tried a business-like approach, focusing on all the details, who needed to be called, what forms needed to be filled out.

She refused to read his obituary, telling herself that reading it was a form of betrayal. Others around her would remark that she was cool and collected, what was really happening was shock and denial.

Unable to face the reality of her husband’s death Joan found herself engaging in “magical thinking”, conjuring up an elaborate world in which her husband might reappear. Joan kept her husband’s shoes, telling herself that he would need them when he returned.

You Can Run But You Can Not Hide

Eventually, Joan discovered the inevitable, you can run,  but you can’t hide from emotional pain. It finds you, and then you have to be honest.

Be ready and prepared to deal with more pain than you thought you ever could. If you can tolerate the intensity then it will diminish, it will get smaller and smaller and eventually disappear.

Some Wise Words

Really love the powerful simplicity of this quote by Satish Kumar:

“Sister, pain is a part of life. By accepting it, its intensity is reduced. Do not resist it. Resistance to pain brings tension and anxiety, anxiety leads to fear. Fear of pain is worse that pain itself. This pain will pass.”

Translation: You have a few choices, and it is always your choice. You can either (a) Sit with the pain now, or (b) Avoid the pain now and potentially feel even greater pain later, inevitably delaying the healing.

Here is what is possible; experiencing and overcoming pain can create emotional depth and insights that you never thought you were capable of.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 4th, 2011 at 8:00 AM and is filed under Thoughts and Therapy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Feeling Means You’re Dealing”

  1. Leslie Says:

    September 15th, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    This really rang true for me . Alzheimer’s/dementia really IS the long goodbye. I know my parents, as I knew them most of my life , are not coming back, yet I keep expecting that they will be just fine , and that if we all pretend everything is normal, it will be normal. Because of this, I
    don’t deal with my emotions and procrastinate “taking care of business”. This , of course, only fuels anxiety. Knowing and doing , I guess , will only come with acceptance.

  2. Cheryl Woolstone Says:

    September 15th, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Leslie, great insight into the connection with anxiety. You are so right about the long goodbye with Alzheimer’s. Cheryl

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