Tuesday, May 13

In difficult times, we learn who we are

I'm a reader. I read all kinds of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Because I'm a reader, I've "experienced" all kinds of difficulties. More importantly, I've come through those difficulties with the characters.

Our individual scale for difficulty differs, of course. But my difficulties, no matter their scale nor magnitude, are my difficulties. They're the ones with which I have to cope.

As I navigate my emotions and as I try to make sense of my options, I also pay attention to those who have gone through similar experiences or how those around me cope with their own difficulties.

I've learned a lot about myself. Some of it I like; some of it I want to change because I hear a certain tone of voice or attitude I don't think is very nice or kind.

What I have also learned about difficulties is that the degree or scale doesn't matter when you're in it. What might not seem particularly overwhelming to someone else might consume you. It's the undercurrents and the stuff that we make sure no one else sees that can trip us up. It's the sense of the never-ending that drives us to those jags of gulping tears or wanting to scream, just scream, at the top of our lungs. It's the sense of the helpless that keeps us awake, that yields the throbbing headache, that triggers the feeling of panic mixed with nausea in the pit of our stomachs. It's that feeling that we cannot possibly take one more thing that causes us to snap at those who are trying to help or who mean well, that makes us want to slam doors and break things.

And most of us keep all of that emotion and all of those thoughts inside as much because we don't have anyone with whom to share whatever we're experiencing as we don't want to burden anyone else with our drama, but also because even if we do share, others don't always quite understand.

I'm blessed that I have dear friends who might not understand the specifics of my own situation, but they know me and they care about me. What's might be more important is that they help me remember and see who I am and who I can be.

The situation is no less difficult. The emotions are no less raw or less complicated. But in the self-reflection and in the conversations with friends, I have a better sense of not only who I am and can be, but the kind of person I want to be.

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