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When Painful Things Happen To Great People

Sarah Jane was a typical 9 year old girl with a very untypical question. Having just lost her closest friend to cancer, in the midst of her tearful, half hidden face, Sarah Jane...
Views: 673 Created 08/06/2007

Sarah Jane was a typical 9 year old girl with a very untypical question. Having just lost her closest friend to cancer, in the midst of her tearful, half hidden face, Sarah Jane sobbed out the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Like Sarah Jane, each of us experiences situations where we feel the pains of life's circumstances. For Sarah Jane it was losing a close friend to cancer, but for many of us it can be the pain experienced when someone spreads hurtful gossip about us, abuses us, betrays us, or simply jerks us around in life. Those circumstances might result in our losing a job, a friend, a love interest, a business deal, or the creation of a rift between family members. The pain we feel is very real, very deep, and sometimes very private. Most people near us don't understand the scope, or the depth of the pain we carry as a result of the emotional wounding we've experienced.

There are varying degrees of pain we often feel in response to situations inflicted upon us by life, or by people. Some levels of pain are small, some are not. For some, there are situations where the wound is so deep, they end up struggling to know how to get out from under the deep inner pain that results. It's in the midst of a surrounding, choking pain that many people struggle, not knowing what to do, or how to cope.

There are key steps that help us deal with life's pain. First, we need to privately admit to ourselves, we've been hurt, or are hurting! Own it, and recognize that whenever we experience a change in life that results in a loss, no matter how big or small, we will go through a grieving process. It's important to start at a place of honesty, recognizing your pain for what it is.

Secondly, (and this step in the process, is not easy, for it often goes against our human nature) the next step if the cause of our pain is an offense, is to forgive our offender. By forgiving our offender, we are not letting him or her off the hook as far as consequences are concerned. By forgiving, we're letting our self off the hook. We are giving up any motivation or thought of revenge. When a person refuses to forgive, they choose to carry the pain, the anger, the bitterness, of the situation around with them every minute of the day and night. The situation becomes an emotional wound that festers like an emotional infection. Until we forgive our offender, our offender ends up owning our emotions.

The third step in our process of responding to life's deep hurt's is to find a "safe" friend and share our pain with them. We all have friends in our lives, but what do I mean by the term "safe friend"? Safe friends are friends who listen to you, are empathetic with you, can advise you, but the most important quality in a safe friend, is the person's ability to respect confidentiality. Not all friends are "safe friends". "Safe friends" are often few and far between. "Safe friends" can be a current friend, a counselor, a priest, a therapist, a law enforcement officer, someone who's been through a similar situation, or a person recommended to you by a friend who feels they simply can't help you but know of a better person who could.

Finally, at some point in our daily life, we need to carry on in life. If we don't carry on in life, then we're choosing to let our offender win, and we're choosing to be our offender's victim. While this can be difficult to hear when we're in the depths of a painful experience, being a "victim" is a choice, it's a mental state, and it can be terribly crippling. For those caught in a victim mentality, they are in the position of strength, for they can choose to no longer be a victim by removing themselves from the situation. If we are being abused or bullied by a person, and we remove our self from that situation, then our abuser or bullier has no more power over us.

Recently, a woman began to share her story of a serious internal family conflict with her brother. The situation was critical and she shared how she was considering using a gun as a solution against her abusive drug addicted sibling. Her pain was real, as was the abuse, but the use of a gun is never a solution, for it would haunt her in years to come at every family event. Her brother would end up owning her emotions from his grave. For this lady, her solution lay in forgiveness, then seeking out a "safe" friend in the law enforcement or legal community who could help her establish safe legal boundaries with this sibling. Those boundaries might take on the form of a drug rehabilitation intervention program, perhaps a restraining order, or jail time. While these boundaries might seem harsh for a family member to consider, in the presence of illegal drugs, harsh steps and strong boundaries must be respected. The establishing of proper boundaries is always a healthy life direction, and the best way for people to remove themselves from the role of a victim.

When life really hurts, there are positive solutions that empower us to live life to the fullest in spite of our wounding. As with Sarah Jane, in time, we can bounce back, we can smile again, we can laugh, and we can rise above the hurt we carry deep inside.

About The Author

James C. Tanner of http://www.silent-wonder.com, and of http://www.whats-he-like.com is a retired entrepreneur, a former special Investigator, and a published writer who's articles are enjoyed by 12.5 million readers monthly.

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