When we go through painful times-- loneliness, self-doubt, difficult relationships, fears, facing the unknown, mourning loss, or feeling a lack of direction-- we either settle into passivity and defeat or become motivated to actively change.
I think emotional pain is very similar to physical pain. Sometimes pain requires us to take action or make a decision-- for example, when you put your hand on a hot stove, you quickly move it to stop the pain. But sometimes pain is necessary for inevitable change to occur-- for example, when you experience growing pains before a growth spurt. This pain naturally precedes change. The change will occur whether you choose it or not-- you passively "ride out the storm."
The trick is recognizing which painful circumstances require action for change to occur, and which are natural growing pains that will resolve themselves. When should you be an active participant and when should you ride out the storm? Knowing this brings peace. Oftentimes people sit back and believe that painful circumstances will resolve themselves, when they should really "move their hand away from the stove." And oftentimes people try to actively change painful circumstances, when the growing pain is inevitable and they need to "ride out the storm" for positive change to occur. Here are some questions to ponder over.....
1. If you do nothing, will you feel this way in 2 months? In 6 months? In 2 years?
2. If you decide to take action, will this change the circumstances?
3. What is your usual go-to reaction in painful circumstances-- wait for the storm to pass or make a change? How successful or unsuccessful has this been for you?
4. Have you experienced an identical pain point before? If so, did this resolve itself or did your actions resolve it?
5. Would the painful circumstances go away by venting to someone? Or would they still be there tomorrow? Basically, are you over-reacting in your mind?
6. Look to examples of others who have been through the same circumstances and pinpoint what their turning point was-- did they take an action or did they passively wait for resolution.
7. Is there no way for the circumstances to change? Then look for the change to happen within yourself.
Remember, it's always darkest before dawn. :)
, by Dylan Jahraus