My grandmother was a believer in, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.” Her grief was private and she grieved alone only after she first addressed the sorrow of others.
As I grew older, I began to disagree with her. It’s actually a rare gift to find someone who will jump with joy for you and share in celebration of good news or fortune. It’s much easier to solicit and receive sorrow and pity. Wallowing in misery is easy, and it’s commonplace. While it might be therapeutic for a day or so, nurturing the comfort of misery brings with it great risk.
You must dig deeply into some of life’s challenges to find the good in them, but do understand, it’s always there. To be seduced by self-pity is to be guilty of avoidance. Taking this road will leave you wondering what you have missed and sometimes it’s too late to go back and take the other fork.
“Too often opportunity knocks, but by the time you push back the chain, push back the bolt, unhook the locks and shut off the burglar alarm, it’s too late,” Rita Collidge. Hiding or avoiding situations doesn’t change reality but it will change you.
“If you avoid certain situations because you’re worried about the outcome, you never get to learn what would have happened if you had faced those situations. You deprive yourself of the chance to see how you would have coped. When you decide to avoid, you experience a temporary state of relief, but you’re also left feeling powerless and deflated, as if you can’t control your own behavior. Eventually, you become discouraged and disheartened as a vague sense of feeling paralyzed sets in. This is how avoidance slowly eats away your self-confidence over time…Push yourself to feel vulnerable – this allows you to learn that you can handle whatever happens, and that even the most difficult of emotions can’t destroy you. We’re all capable of feeling intense fear so we can escape life-threatening situations…But usually people avoid things that simply make them feel uncomfortable,” Holly Hazlett-Stevens, PhD (Women Who Worry Too Much).
Our current times are no walk in the park, but avoiding the opportunities they hold will paint you into heartbreak. Instead of avoidance, embrace change. Embrace opportunity. Embrace great discomfort and seek the treasures it is meant to bring.
There’s a tiny book, Add One More Star to the Night, I have gifted through the years. It’s written by Cooper Edens who dedicated it to former Beatle, George Harrison. One of the reviews describes it as being ‘for those moments when the world – or at least the afternoon – looks a little bleak.” Though small in size, the book is large in wisdom.
If your world has come undone….fasten it securely to the horizon…If your wings grow heavy…jump for joy….If you must cry, plant your tears as seeds…If you’re afraid of the dark…add one more star to the night.
I know now that my grandmother was right. What she was really trying to tell me is that we should celebrate our joy with others but if you must succumb to grief, you should do so alone. Both are contagious, but the world needs the energy and momentum of your laughter and joy so much more. GIFT that over these holidays and be thankful for the heartache and the joy!
~From the desk of Becky Morlok~Share with a Friend or Colleague