That’s a question we should probably all ask ourselves from time to time. It’s a crucial question during times of personal adversity/trauma. Are you going to let life’s misfortunes define and color the rest of your days negatively? Or are you going to risk allowing your soul’s light to shine into the darkness and get better?
I ask my clients these question every single day. I may not use those exact words, but it’s essentially what I am asking when I ask questions like:
How are we going to work toward resolving your complaint or current struggle?
Are you ready to move yourself toward of place of personal growth and healing?
Are you planning on coming into my office, complaining each week about the same thing and then asking me why you don’t feel better?
Are you finally ready to work on the past, the trauma, the wounds, the pain?
Do you finally believe me when I tell you that you learned to believe that you’re
weak? Or that you’re worthless? Or just not good enough.
That you don’t deserve healing? Or any other negative self-belief.
The thing is, we learned to believe those lies during times of struggle and personal adversity. We developed that inner narrative with time…and sometimes with years of practice. We rehearse those negative words over and over again on a daily basis. We whisper them to ourselves when we’re trying to sleep, late at night, with tears soaking our pillows. Those self-deprecating words are the lullaby of the hurting. But they aren’t true. Not even one of those lies is your soul’s truth. Your inner self and inner truth is loving, positive, generous and kind.
The beauty of the present moment is that with each breath, we get to decide. Are we going to work on getting better and healing or are we going to let life make us bitter?
There is no “right” time to start working on healing. It’s never too late. It’s never too early. You can’t be too young or too old. It doesn’t matter if you’re an eighty-year old who is counting your last days in a nursing home, if you’re a sixty something year old military vet with PTSD, or a teenager in the middle of the worst possible life.
We can HEAL, get BETTER, and GROW. And most importantly, we deserve it! The universe wants this for us. You only have to want it for yourself. I don’t believe what I’m writing because it’s what research tells me believe. I know this truth because I have not only experienced healing and growth, I have seen countless people do it right in front of my eyes with the help of EMDR therapy. I feel so blessed to have this tool to share with my clients who are working on (or at least trying to work on) healing, growth and improvement. And I’m so grateful for how it has helped me.
What I want more than anything is to see the people I care about (family, friends, my current and former clients) thriving and living the wonderful life that is waiting for them on the other side of their pain. It’s always so easy to see the bright side of someone else’s pain because the weight of it isn’t dragging you down. It’s not always that easy to see the bright side of our own seemingly hopeless situation. That’s why we need each other. To help each other by pointing out the bright side when it’s so hard to see in the middle of a dark and lonely room. Sometimes we need our “tribe” to point out our strengths and our resilience. Sometimes we need them to just remind us that there’s light and that you just have to keep moving toward it and open the door.
Not everyone will believe it though. They need to trust you. But mostly, they need to trust themselves. They need to believe that things can get better and that they’re worthy of it getting better. Sometimes this takes time. Sometimes they run away and come back. Sometimes they just run away. Some people simply decide to not get better. They decide to get bitter. And that’s their choice. We have to respect that.
It might hurt when you care about someone who makes the choice to get bitter. You might try your best to help them see the truth but do not pry open their eyes. Do not beg or cry or plead. They have to do this on their own terms. In their own time. Otherwise, the light they might find won’t be their own and they’ll end up bitter anyways. I’m at an age now where I have two aging parents, both of whom I love very much. But one has shown me what it looks like to get better and the other has shown me what it looks like to get bitter.
I’m at this point in my life, this mid-point, where I get to decide which way I’m going to age. I’ve decided that I’ll work on getting better. And I’ll work on helping others who are trying to get better to figure out how to do it. I don’t care how long as it takes, just as long as we’re moving. Because as I help others on their journey to peace, I also find peace. I learn and grow alongside them. It’s such an honor to be there with them. The feeling I get when someone is moving toward their place of peace and authenticity is so powerful and I just want to sit there forever. And that’s why I can’t sit and stay stuck in the bitterness of other people’s life (bitterness is not the same as pain). Because I know how amazing it feels to grow and find peace and I want to share that with others. I don’t want to sit and watch someone I care about growing more bitter. Even if it’s become your place of peace and comfort. It’s just not mine.