Life brings pain. It is natural for us to suffer, given that we are emotional human beings.
There isn’t always a simple solution to all the problems that life presents to us. Furthermore, many life issues may not have a viable solution at all.
Keep in mind (as mentioned previously), when we are hit by the cosmic 2×4, not only does life bring us suffering, but we additionally compound things through our own interpretations and ruminations. In those instances, we may not realize how we: magnify, look for blame, and experience all sorts of emotions, such as: anger, sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, and despair.
However, even if we didn’t contaminate the suffering that is already there, by adding our own misery, sometimes the life circumstances that we find ourselves in, are truly catastrophic.
This cosmic 2×4 often hits when we least expect it – sometimes it seems that life decided to attack us with multiple hits all at once. Even without a chronic and progressive illness, life can bring calamity. For some of us, the expression “when it rains, it pours”, seems to hold true. For example, our home air conditioner breaks right after we lose our job, and then something else bad happens. It becomesy, when major or multiple bad things happen, to have our mind react by generating thoughts, such as: “one darn thing after another”, “I can’t handle this”, “my life is terrible”.
Some life events are just plain bad enough that our mind may not need to add much interpretation, as these situations are powerful enough to bring us to our knees.
Painful life events can range anywhere from – things that can make us uncomfortable – through things that can traumatize us, – all the way up to things that can kill us. All of us will experience pain, loss, tragedy, and death.
How we handle these life situations can also make a difference, not just to ourselves, but also those around us whom we care about.
We may choose to try to go the route of trying to alleviate our suffering in some way. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel better, and if alleviation can be achieved in a way that is healthy both for ourselves, and for those whom we care about (or who care about us), then our ways to alleviate some pain, in order to feel better, may be justifiable.
One thing to keep in mind, is that there are risks with taking steps to feeling better. Of course, there are also risks with not taking steps.
There are both potential benefits, as well as risks, with: medications, exercise, different forms of therapy, etc.
There are also benefits and risks with love and friendship: some people leave us (some by scattering during our time of need – like cockroaches in the light), some people seem to stop caring for us, and some people die. In other words, people change, some leave us, some get sick, and some die on us.
Let’s also take a moment to summarize our ACE agenda (Avoid, Control, and Escape). As humans, we try to move away against multiple forms of pain and discomfort. One way we do this is by moving towards things that make us feel better. Yet, often the very things that can make us feel better are only temporary, and then may be harmful to ourselves (or others) as time goes on.
We also do strategies to avoid pain: we sleep, isolate, escape, etc. Yet, in doing so, we may miss out on meaningful occurrences, such as: family events, the company of others, and life in general.
The avoidance, control, and escape strategies are an easy trap to fall into because:
It is hard to appreciate the precious nature of life when we are suffering from a condition that robs us of health, energy, and that in doing so, may take from us the capacity to fully view or appreciate some of life’s precious moments.
You may not be able to make everything okay. However, ask yourself the following:
Am I currently doing (or about to do) something that is (or will) make things worse?
(Worse referring to, not just, for myself, but for those whom I care about, and/or for those who care about me).
Remember that when tragic things happen, it is okay to allow yourself to feel, just don’t get stuck there! Seek sources of strength to pull yourself up (more on this later).
Right now, stay focused on the following:
- Pay attention to (keep awareness of) how your mind may be adding unnecessary additional suffering
- Be careful how you are reacting (how you are handling bad situations). You may not be able to make things okay, but also make sure that you don’t do anything to make things worse!
- Look for some action step that you can do, that would be the healthiest way you can react (the healthiest course of action step that you can take), given, and despite the fact, that this bad thing has happened.