Our culture has an interesting approach when we feel upset, weak or like we’re suffering.
As far as I can tell, suffering seems to be a part of the universal spectrum of experiences available to us. In short, at some point, we all feel it to some degree.
I’ve noticed that when we take on more, step up and go for it more in some area of our life that we can experience more suffering. AND I think that this is why many of us live within our comfort zone and or play smaller than we know we can.
I love fairy tales, parables and myths because to me they speak of the ‘hero’s journey’ that all human beings can experience. The ability to live our lives, go for something we want and boldly face the challenges along the way.
Some of my favourites are Beauty and the Beast and David and Goliath. Think about it. Do you believe that Belle was not scared to dance with a monster with big fangs? I think she was very afraid and did it anyway because she knew what his real character was. Likewise, I think that David was afraid of Goliath and faced him anyway and in so doing became an example of courage for us all.
My point is that if we deny our suffering and think it’s weak to feel weak, then we simultaneously deny our opportunity for authentic courage. The willingness to do something or face something even though we feel less than – because we know that there is something inside of us that will emerge and be victorious. (note, and this is a longer point, I don’t agree with the ‘just deal with it’ attitude as it can lack humanity and an ability to be with ourselves and others. In my opinion it seems disassociated).
The distinguished professor of Psychology Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says this, which I LOVE: “We all know individuals who can transform hopeless situations into challenges to be overcome, just through the force of their personalities. This ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is the quality people most admire in others, and justly so; it is probably the most important trait not only for succeeding in life, but for enjoying it as well”.
Notice how it does not talk about people feeling silly because they are upset or weak… its talk of people able to transform these situations, and transformation does not happen when we ignore, deny or berate ourselves.
I wish for you all the self-compassion to allow yourselves to discover what is really going on so that you may experience a force of transformation emerging from inside you that will astound you. And I hope to have the privilege to be there to witness that moment for many of you.