WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN LIFE HAPPENS?
By: Lawrence Dickstein
Many of us are rightfully taken aback by the events in Las Vegas. This tragedy comes directly on the heels of three major hurricanes. In this edition, we are focusing on what to do when you think the world is broken and you feel helpless to fix it. Readers of this newsletter will note that in our Life Coaching category we have focused primarily on making internal improvements with articles like “When Is The Best Time To Be Happy?” and “Do You Make Mistakes?” In this month’s edition we wish to focus on how to deal with external events like grief.
My experience growing up in America was during a more sanitized male chauvinist era, when men in particular were taught that to cry or display any sort of emotion in public was a sign a weakness. Grief of any kind was treated as a private ailment that was not discussed or acknowledged. Even with all the changes to our society in the last 50 years, many of us from the generation of IN YOUR FACE high definition Hollywood violence go numb when faced with real tragedy and are simply unprepared to know how to grieve; perceiving it as an unseemly display that needs to be suppressed.
Today, when life happens we should learn how to grieve. We grieve for a reason, and that process is a healing one. We humans need time to process and deal with tragedy and to acknowledge it without guilt or shame. Our recent ancestors dealt with tragedy face to face. Just 100 years ago, before the advent of modern medicine, death was all around us and could simply not be ignored. So how should we deal with life challenges today?
When we are faced with a loss, we must go through the storm in order to come out on the other side and find a new dawn. Grief and grieving is a process. What happens through the metamorphosis of the grieving process is truly miraculous, and needs to be understood as a uniquely human phenomenon. Many religions and secular physicians have both prescribed a period of mourning as a remedy. What they both find is that after a time the pain subsides and we start to come back to the world we left able to return again to the process of living.
Those experiencing this undertaking have clearly been changed and have been deeply affected as they once again rejoin the world. Those having gone through the process are never the same. With a new perspective they are strengthened and able to acknowledge their loss tempered with a new found resolve to go on.
No matter what we do, life happens. Each generation must surely discover for themselves how to deal with the challenges of their time. I can only hope that when our children look back on us, they see our generation as a positive example of strength and virtue in the face of adversity.