One of the main reasons I teach stress management is it forces me to practice what I preach. And what I’ve been practicing the past couple of weeks is Item #10 of the traits of stress-hardy people:
“They know how to mourn the inevitable losses in life. They know how to let go of things they have no control over.”
So, letting go…. That doesn’t mean trying to push feelings away. If I’ve learned anything in this world, it’s that if I just hang in there through difficult times and stay open to life… including the dark feelings …there is joy at the end of the tunnel. That doesn’t mean wallowing in those feelings, rehearsing the stories that feed them, getting caught in a downward spiral. It means quietly being with them, seeing what’s behind them, and being gentle and compassionate.
Does that mean being a passive victim? No, not at all. It just means being gentle and patient. It means having faith in the process. It means not fighting reality. Losses do occur. They do hurt…they hurt a lot. But that’s not the whole story.
As Richard Bach puts it, “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.”
Or, in the words of Carl Jung, “The greatest problems in life are fundamentally insoluble…. They can never be solved but only outgrown.” By outgrown he meant the person’s perspective changes. “Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patient’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It …faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge.”
And that’s the main thing, don’t try to rush the process, but keep in mind that if you stay open to life…if you nourish yourself with music, inspirational quotes or literature, or whatever connects you to your deepest values…you will find you have gained more than you have lost in the trip through the tunnel. Have faith you will experience the joy at the end.