Sad is Not Bad. Moving Through Life Transitions With Grace

15 06 2010

Our society is bombarded with transitions. In fact every few months almost every American goes through a transition, a transition from school to camp, from single life to relationship, from marriage to divorce, from health to disease, from sharing love to loss, from life to death. The list goes on. We all experience one form of transition or another in our life . Another name for this is grief. Grief is a normal process in life. In fact when dealing with grief it’s not uncommon to swing from one emotion into another. John W. James and Russell Friedman, authors of The Grief Recovery Handbook define grief as, “conflicting feelings caused by the change or end of a familiar pattern.” This means that graduation can cause grief, having a baby or going on a trip. When people experience conflicting emotions confusion and fear take over. This is due to the fact that most Americans are taught that sad is bad, anger is dangerous and crying is dysfunctional. We tell our children if you don’t stop crying I’ll give you something to cry about.
Americans in particular are extremely fearful of emotions. Yet our country is flooded with life situations that causes tremendous grief. Divorce is rampant, disease is spreading on an epidemic level and our economics are suffering greatly. What tends to happen is that when we experience a shift we are taught to suck it up and move on with our life. The truth is that by not stepping into our pain, taking a good look at it, feeling it and experiencing the waves, we will not heal and move on with our lives. Instead our pain will keep creeping at us, spooking us like a ghosts haunting us in the dark night. How can we move past our grief, live in our society and come out stronger on the other side? Another question to ponder is why do people stay in situations that bring them pain when they know there might be a better solution for them?

Let’s tackle the first question.

I’ve gone through many transitions in my life. Some of them created huge waves and shifts I never would’ve expected. My grief started at a young age when my father physically abused me, almost killing me several times. My mother also had a stroke when I was seven years old. This left me feeling orphaned and shifted me into the role of caregiver. I go into great detail in my book, The Power Within Me on how my life situation gave me an opportunity to shift from a victim mentality into a warrior role. At first glance one would look at the trauma I lived through from a very young age and agree that I experienced pain inflicted by outside circumstances. I instead decided to flip the situation and find the blessings and opportunities. But it was not until I faced my pain, cried my tears, and shed my old self that I was able to transition. I had to go through the experience fully. Walking through the fire is done by an escape artist. Sitting in the fire is done by a warrior. Allow yourself to die through the pain, the grief and the fear. By truly facing it you diminish its power.

Now let’s tackle the second question.
One major transition I went through was when I was going through my divorce. The conflicting emotions I was experiencing surprised me because it was something I had wanted for a long time. Then why did I feel so sad, angry, scared and excited all at the same time? The unknown is a scary place for us. We have nothing to base it on. We have no past we can relate the unknown future too. When we step into unfamiliar territory, a new pattern, fear is the first thing that comes towards us. This is why many choose to stay in an uncomfortable situation, simply because it is what they know. They would rather be in pain then venture into unknown land. “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know”. I was once working with a client who was experiencing a lot of pain. She kept returning to her abusive husband, clinging to him for support. All she got in return was more abuse. She later told me that she knew that he could not provide the love and comfort she was seeking and knew that there might be a better solution for her if she left him for good. It was her fear of possibly being alone the rest of her life that kept her going back to her abusive husband. After a few guided exercises we did together, allowing her to face her fear of the unknown she finally left her dysfunctional situation. A year later she met her soulmate. She was only able to accomplish this by facing her fear, feeling it, sitting in the fire.
Many of us are facing crossroads in our life. We truly know what is right for us to do but are afraid. The unknown is too frightening for us so it keeps us where we are. In order to truly make a shift and move from pain to bliss we need to face our pain, sit in it and move to the other side. Imagine looking straight at an arrow coming toward you. If you move toward the arrow and keep walking through it, the arrow will bend. If you resist and fight it, the arrow will hurt you. Let go of resistance and open your life up to what it can be. Don’t stay in fear. Don’t let it rob you of your life. Know that there are limitless possibilities. By facing your fear and keeping the faith your life will turn into a wondrous journey.

Esther is a transformational coach. For more great tools become a fan of her page at http://www.facebook.com/estherhadler#!/EstherWarrior?ref=ts

Esther provides a powerful 3 step system, guiding you from the transitions you are experiencing toward the life you are yearning to create. This program is designed for those dealing with a shift in their lives and are ready to take the steps to heal their wounds and create a great life.
If you are experiencing,

A divorce,
A loss,
A newly diagnosed disease,
Abuse,
A new career,
A change in relationship
this program is for you.

Email Esther at EstherAdler@EstherAdler.com to set up a complimentary half hour session.

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One response

15 06 2010
Glen Depke

I always say you cannot teach what you do not know…you do not know what you have not experienced. Sounds like Esther “knows” a lot!

Coaching from experience is such a gift.

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