One common thread that connects us all is our suffering. Perhaps suffering exists so that we are drawn to each other. So that we make connections to unite under a common bond. Struggles are what teach us. They are the growing pains in life. They carve into our souls the depth needed to hold empathy and compassion for others. Our struggles, if we allow them to, can bring us more wisdom than we can ever learn in a formal setting.
The question of a lifetime is to determine how to survive in the midst of all this suffering. What are we to do with our suffering? You have to make the choice for it is your suffering and no one else’s. It belongs to you and to you alone and I have learned many things after years of suffering. For one I know that as long as we walk this earth we will find suffering. I also know that we can choose to let it drown us or we can learn from it. I am holistically stronger as a result of my sorrows. I am able to connect to others as a wounded healer; without the struggles and the pains I would never be able to say this. My truth is not about what happened to me. It is about how I choose to respond to it.
One might choose to embrace their suffering and cling to it like a warm blanket; swaddled in uncomfortable familiarity. In time this will become your reality and you will not remember where your suffering began or how it will ever end. The suffering has taken on a life of its own and you will be drinking from this life cup everyday as it steals your joy slowly and steadily. I know this as a fact for this for it is how I existed for years. It was not my conscious choice, but rather one of circumstance. I didn’t have the tools or support to understand otherwise at the time. I was caught up and adrift in my own nightmare.
When you play in the rough surf of the ocean you run the risk of getting knocked down. Sometimes, before you can stand back up another wave will roll in and knock you right back down, and so forth and so on. Before you realize it you are being helped to shore gasping for breath and wondering how such a beautiful day turned so quickly into fear.
So it is with life. There are times where we get knocked down again and again before we even realize what has happened to us. It comes so quickly sometimes, doesn’t it? We find ourselves knocked on our asses, exhausted, sad, and often in great pain. We are robbed of the very joy that we are here to seek in this life. Alas, this is the human condition my friends and no one gets a hall pass in the school of life.
All I truly know is how I handle my suffering; and I really do wish that it hadn’t taken me so long to awaken to this truth. When I am in pain, I take my suffering and I sit with it for as long as I need to. I get to know it and why it has come into my life. When I feel like I cannot sit with it any longer, I stay grounded in it, even when it feels like it is going to kill me. It can be agony, but this is the critical time in your healing. You need to look inwards and dig deep in order to find the lesson that your pain is trying to teach you. By doing so your suffering is never in vain. You will have taken command and ownership of your suffering and it will no longer dictate to you. It cannot rule you.
When you can look at your suffering in this manner then you will know that is has been for the building of your spirit, not the breaking down. You will have learned and grown within your self. Your spirit will be wiser and your mind sharper. You will be stronger for you have survived what you thought you couldn’t. The silver lining here is that you will be prepared to help another one day who might be suffering in a similar way. You are now a wounded healer, and to me there is nothing more powerful than this.
This is where in my purpose lies and where my drive comes from. This is why I wake up every morning grateful for another precious day. It is why I have my hand open wide to take another’s. I may not be able to change the situation of their suffering, but I can offer them hope and understanding. My desire is to foster hope in people so that they know that their suffering can pass as they come to an understanding of it. In this understanding they will find purpose. Our suffering doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
This is the ripple effect in its purest form. One small motion in calm water can ripple out a great distance. It is our choice how we respond to it. I choose to live my life by embracing it all and as a result believe that I am wiser for it. Running away from your struggles or numbing your pain will never allow you to grow into the person that you are meant to be. By taking the time to sit with your suffering you will gain an understanding unparalleled in any other way. You will have the capacity to help others navigate through their tough times; and this is how we unite through our pain in order to connect, grow, and heal. Within this journey we are certain to find the silver lining of Hope and Love.