Life is complex. It is filled with highs and lows. We are ultimately defined by how we respond to the challenges that we are confronted with during our journey.
It didn’t take long for the Let’s Check-In team to identify more than thirty different life stresses that can have an impact on our physical, emotional, health, and well-being. We talked about things like heartbreak, current events, aging, raising kids vs. choosing to be childless, deaths among family and friends, our own mortality, substance abuse, work/life balance, and more. We are sure that there are some on your list that we didn’t think about that have had a major impact on you.
There are losses and then there are losses. The impact of a given trauma on each of us is rooted in our life and experiences before that moment in time.
For example, my parents told me they were parting ways at the same time a close member of the family had been diagnosed with a chronic disease with serious long-term health consequences and no cure. I was in high school at the time and these events rocked my world, altering the trajectory of my life. It is impossible to say what choices I might have made or how things might have been different if those events had not taken place, but I would be foolish to say that they didn’t matter. It is how we respond to the stresses and traumas we face that defines our lived lives.
It is important to know that our feelings of joy and pain are just that, feelings. They are not who we are as people. The Five Stages of Grief (aka the Kübler-Ross model) includes: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. If you can start an internal conversation that helps you address those wants and needs being left unmet due to the challenges you have faced, then you have taken an important first step in your healing process.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” John C. Maxwell
When tragedies strike the associated pain is very real, yet it is still transitory. We may not be able to see the “light at the end of the tunnel,” but we must believe it is awaiting us and move in that direction. That is where the chance for (re)Discovery of who we are and what we are here for begins. Allow the loss(es)—no matter how great—to be the catalyst for your own personal evolution. Open your eyes, ears, and heart to the opportunities ahead that can be transformed into reality when the energy generated by your pain is channeled into positive actions.
Be bold. Be brave. Allow negative feelings to pass over, around, or through you without clinging to your soul. Just keep moving because brighter days are ahead.