Breakdown or Breakthrough: Thriving When You Worry About Surviving


With all due respect to Ben Franklin, death and taxes are not the only things certain in life. In fact, the one thing we also all have in common, is that some point in our existence, we all hit a wall. Actually, we hit many walls; with each challenge as painful or even more painful than the next. Someone once asked me, “When is it that we stop hurting?” I was sorry to tell them, that I think it’s the point when we are dead.

The challenge to help humanity thrive through life’s chaos is the very thing that drew me to into the helping field. A human, no different than the hundreds of clients I’ve served, my life has also been filled with countless times where I have also hit that proverbial wall. But time and time again, I’ve come to see, that these breakdowns are actually breakthroughs.

I’ve come to recognize that these points of challenge are when we come face-to-face with the boundaries of our own selves. They test our strength and our character, with a question: How much can I take? In these points of challenge we learn how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go. In leaning in and allowing these moments of pain to become periods of transformation is precisely when these breaking points become our life’s greatest gifts.

In coming face-to-face with the great depth of our own pain, many of us feel as if we will only perish in the fire. Suicide in fact, is when someone feels that death is the only way to ‘cut the suffering short’. A tragedy above tragedies, for these poor suffering souls miss the glorious sunrise on the other side of their pain. So how can we keep from holding on, when all we want to do is let-go and escape?

It may seem ridiculously simple, but sometimes it is the hardest thing to do. That is, when faced with our own limits, the best thing we can do is sit, and ride the rollercoaster out. We all know the old cliché that ‘this too shall pass’. Well-meaning people often try to console us with this statement to little or no avail. Having someone like a mentor, therapist, or loved one to sit with you like a coach, can give you the tender inspiration that you can and will keep going just one more day. Mow the lawn, do the dishes, read a book, or cry until you stop. The point is that nothing lasts forever and you can forge your own sit-in until the pain slowly fades away.

Sitting and doing nothing will pass the time but it may also drive you crazy. So another helpful tool to bring some order into the chaos is to consciously use this time for self-advancement. It is in the darkness of your own manure, that you have a special kind of essence or fertilizer perfect for growth. Far more than times when you ‘have it all-together’, it is precisely when you feel empty that grace, knowledge and wisdom has a place to go. It is when we are most confused and feel we have none of the answers that we are actually in the best place to learn. So take a class, learn a skill, or engage in personal growth through therapy or a support group. Each is designed to help you expand beyond your current limitations and aside from staying busy these things will start to bring light to your otherwise darker days.

So often in our panic, we are paralyzed by our fear, anxiety, or depression. It’s like a huge rock has been placed upon us and it seems impossible that we can move. But these mind-matters have been fully proven to be highly changeable. Our thoughts will change if we challenge the power they have over us. If we fear the pain, we get stuck in avoidance. If we embrace the pain we can go through it, realize we can survive it, and the memory of this perseverance lasts a long, long time. If we are depressed by our bleak situation, we can re-learn a pattern of thinking where our thoughts can actually become our friends. When we are overcome with our anxieties, we can tune into the stillness of our being and discover the eternal peace and lasting joy in the quite of our own souls.

Sounds a little lofty? You bet, because it is. But the freedom from our pain of being is worth every effort in the world. Beyond knowing this, I have experienced it. Time and time again, I’ve walked through the fire and found huge peace on the other side. Have faith in the natural laws that guide our universe. Know that all fires help forests burn so that rejuvenated, they can grow something anew. Have faith in your own human evolution. Adopt an encouraging understanding that within each painful transition is a period for transformation into your newer and better self.

#Breakdown #challenge #survivingchallenge #depression #anxiety #hopelessness #suicide #help

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