Coach Shari: Feeling the Pain
Are you happy? No— I mean really, really happy? Well, I certainly hope so. If not, all is not lost. There are numerous books that can school you on the subject.
I was speaking with a friend on the phone the other day. She’s going through a very hard time right now. I’m sure you’ve been there at some point— everything that can go wrong in life, somehow goes wrong all at once. She’s struggling with major personal, professional and physical setbacks. It seems so unfair and I can sense that it’s very overwhelming. Heck, it certainly would be for me.
As she shared her story, l listened to her describe her feelings surrounding the experience. And then she said it— I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “I know that I’m supposed to be enjoying the journey but I’m really having difficulty doing that.”
I interrupted her and made her repeat that statement. She expounded on her thought and explained that someone should find the good and enjoyment in every situation— no matter what that situation is.
“Why do you feel that you have to enjoy the journey?” She thought that this is what you’re supposed to be able to do. I’m wondering if she read it on a Facebook post.
In the age of positive affirmation, positive motivation and positive whatever, I want everyone to get clear on this fact: sometimes you have to hurt. Sometimes you need to feel pain, discomfort and sadness.
It is okay to be emotionally hurting. It’s normal to be angry, sad, overwhelmed, disappointed, and discouraged. Maybe, when you get over the turmoil, you can appreciate what you’ve learned from the situation. Once you get to the other side, you can revisit what you went through, make sense of it and learn from it. However, when you’re going through the experience, you are hurting and trudging through mud, just trying to survive. You’re making it through, day-to-day, and that’s okay. That’s good enough.
As a society, why are we so scared of hurting? Why do we convince others and ourselves that we must be happy 100% of the time? Walk through a bookstore and you’ll see shelves and shelves of books that promote this concept. Google “Happiness” and you’ll see thousands of “Happiness Masters” that are itching to show you how to be happy— for a price. Everywhere you look, someone is trying to convince you that being very, very happy is what you should want.
Not only should you want this for you, but also you should want this for your children! Hence, the parents that are terrified of their children hurting and experiencing the normal trials and tribulations of life. All because somewhere, in the American culture, we’ve decided that protecting ourselves and our loved ones from hurt and pain is more important than anything.
There are times in your life when you aren’t happy. In fact, it’s this unhappiness that spurs you on to make changes and recreate your life. It’s these low moments that help you understand who and what’s truly important to you. It’s the moments of incredible pain that allow us to enjoy the moments of incredible pleasure.
Those times in life when you’re just scraping by define your life. They build resilience and give you a foundation of confidence for the future. When you’ve been miserable and walked through to the other side, you realize your capacity for strength and resilience.
Don’t get me wrong, I do want you to be happy. I just want you to get comfortable with the other parts of life too. Don’t aspire to something that isn’t realistic or healthy. Be honest in your feelings and move on, letting the others in your life do the same.