24 January 2018

WASTE NOTHING, NOT EVEN PAIN



A few weeks ago, whilst listening to an episode of Oprah's Super Soul Podcast, where she was chatting to Elizabeth Gilbert (who I love!), I heard something that really resonated in my mind and thought I would write a bit about it today and see what you guys think. Whilst talking about several significant, life changing events Gilbert said '...if we don't transform from suffering, it's just wasted pain...' and that one sentence hit me so hard, speaking such huge volumes to me, that I had to write it down immediately and really dig into the reason that it had such an impact. 

In many ways I guess that the reason those words struck me so hard is because I feel like I am in exactly that mindset right now in my life, where I no longer want to go through any crappy times without learning something about myself or achieving a sense of growth through the pain. As I thought about Elizabeth Gilberts words I started to think about how much I have altered the way I get through something difficult when it shows up in my life now, in contrast to how I may have handled it years ago. If I am totally honest with you, I have only started to shift my mindset since the age of about 34, and I am 37 next month, so it is a relatively new thing for me.

I used to see each challenging time in my life as 'the end of the world'; feeling like my life as I knew it was over and I couldn't face another day (it was all very dramatic!). I didn't ever see that there may be a reason for something happening to me or think for a moment about a possible pattern of 'life-lessons' that may be happening. Things just 'happened', I got upset, down and, after quite a lengthy period of feeling sorry for myself, I just carried on exactly as I had been before. These days, although I may still have the really down moments, where I am unable to see the wood for the trees, there is a monumental difference in many of my thought processes through a challenging or painful experience. I am not saying for one moment that in the middle of a crisis I am some serene, sage burning hippy; usually the opposite is true, but given some time and a little perspective (over a day or two), I definitely see that a situation has happened 'for me', rather than 'to me'. 

I think the only way to survive an emotional crisis is to really think through it all and take out of it any lessons, mistakes and reasons things have happened, and open yourself up to it all in an honest and vulnerable way. This is something that takes real bravery to do because most of us don't want to admit our faults and our wrongs but this is true growth (in my opinion anyway). Sometimes we have to be utterly 'stripped back' to see who we are and sometimes we won't like what we see or what we have to do to move forward, but surely it is better to have a little bit of time where things are hard, maybe even painful, but come out the other side of it happier and stronger, then it is to be stagnant and not move forward because of the perceived fear of pain?

We can't always choose when and how we suffer (I mean, we just wouldn't choose to suffer would we?) but in order to grow we have to be challenged in our lives. I think the important thing is that we don't let it chip away at our spirit, leaving us bitter and angry at life; someone too scarred by life experiences to want to take new risks or open their heart up to new love or friendships. Like Elizabeth Gilbert said, we have to transform from our suffering or else the pain will win and we end up wasting one of our most precious gifts, that of time, and that would be crazy. 
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4 comments

  1. This really resonates with me too, I've had a bit of a tough time recently and have just really felt like I need to make sure some positive change comes out of it, or it won't have been worth the emotional turmoil!

    The North Left

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    1. Hi lovely. I hope you are okay, if you ever want a friendly ear just email me... I am here whenever xxxx

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  2. I listened to that podcast, and you know what somehow I missed that absolute gem!? How do we listen to things and miss something like that? Now that you've brought it to my attention, I have a feeling those words will always stay with me.

    Sending lots of love your way, here's to life lessons and learning.
    Peta xx
    www.pe-ta.com

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    1. I loved those words when I heard them. It is something I have always tried to do but sometimes when someone says something a different way it sticks doesn't it! I hope you are well my love, speak to you soon on IG no doubt! xxx

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