Friday, November 18, 2011

An 'on the other hand' kind of gal

During the past few days I’ve had some things weighing heavily on my mind and I’ve had to discipline myself constantly to not allow feelings of hopelessness to take root in my heart. I’ve been thinking about something that I heard Tim Storey say once, “If you don’t do something with life, life will do something with you.”

In my life I’ve seen two kinds of people:

On the one hand I’ve seen those who, as they’ve grown older and had more disappointing and painful experiences, have grown increasingly angry and bitter. They have closed themselves off to life and to others, too afraid that the next experience will just be another disappointment. And so they stop trying, stop taking
risks, stop experiencing anything new because they’ve become convinced that it will just result in more pain or disappointment. Slowly but surely they stop living and just breathe till they die.

On the other hand I’ve seen those who have experienced disappointment, pain and loss but who have chosen to rise from the ashes and live again. They were not people who denied what had happened (or was happening), neither did they pretend to have it all together and know all the answers. They felt the pain, felt the anger and shed the tears, many in the dark of night where no one saw it or knew about it. But on the other side of it all they chose to love again, to live again – to rise to a new day, a new occasion.

I don’t have admiration for those who think that strength is to not feel the real emotions. That, for me, would be to try and deny that we're human. To pretend that pain, loss and disappointment don’t exist, or to pretend that you don’t feel the emotions that go with those experiences, is not living – not to me, anyway. That is not strength. That is denial. Living authentically is living courageously, able to – first of all – be honest with yourself, whatever that truth is - before moving on.

Neither do I have admiration for those who feel so much, who become so entangled in the emotion that their world grinds to a screeching halt. I don’t believe that we should be controlled by our emotions, but I don’t believe that we’re expected to not feel anything. I also believe that our emotions ‘speak’ to us and sometimes we need to stop and listen to what it is telling us. It can show us where we need to make adjustments so that we can live a better life.

All my heroes have scars, memento’s of the places they’ve been and the experiences they’ve had to be who they are today. These valuable lessons that I learn from them came at a tremendous personal cost. Their stories inspire me to also get to the other side of my challenges. These are the lessons that I like learning from others best, because sometimes the most you learn from someone is how you don’t want to be. Either way, however, lessons learnt from others are precious. We don’t have to make them all ourselves.

In the end, when all is said and done, I want to be an ‘on the other hand’ kind’a gal.

How about you? What is your take on emotions?


Anonymous said...

While all of life's challenges are not pleasant, you can learn a great deal from them. I like to let myself feel the emotion and then get on with settling the situations. God didn't promise us easy and I for one am glad.

Liane said...

Thank you for sharing your thought, Anonymous. I agree with your strategy. I've resolved one thing in my heart: If I have to endure hardship let me never emerge on the other side empty handed. What a sad waste it would be to suffer for nothing. If hardships is going to come, let us at least grow forward from it with courage, strength, greater character, wisdom and faith. I don't ever want to have the hardships I've had over again, but it is undeniable that it is in those times that I've gained most of the beauty that I like about me today and for that my heart is grateful to God: beauty for ashes.