Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Coming Back to Gratitude

I have decided to return to this blog and begin paying attention to the positives again.  The end of my most recent relationship has pushed all the familiar buttons, and I am again facing the possibility of being single for the rest of my life.  While this prospect is probably the most horrifying thought I can imagine, it is also real, and I need to refocus my view onto things that feel good, if only to mask the pain that comes with loneliness. 

Even though the year I spent more than two years ago writing about gratitude didn't always make me feel better in the moment, it did provide a brief time each day where I was contemplating something positive, and I still think it was helpful.  I am uncomfortable when I feel angry, lonely, sad, and bitter; though I often feel these emotions, I believe they are outside my “norm” (or, at least, are not included in what I want in my conscious time).  I do not believe I am depressed  at least not in the clinical sense. At this point, I want to express these feelings somewhere so I can let them out, expel them from my body and mind, never to return.  …Well, that is what I hope for, but, in truth, they do return.

What I do not want is platitudes (“Everything is darkest before the light;” “Love comes when you’re not looking;” “Something better is just around the corner”) because platitudes are selfish.  They are annoying most of the time and said by people who don’t know what else to say, are themselves uncomfortable with the sadness they perceive, and/or they currently have someone to love who loves them back and they don’t remember how loneliness feels.  Well-intended people offer a platitude to make themselves feel better.  Platitudes rarely, if ever, lessen the darkness for the one in pain.

I think the best way to support someone who is hurting emotionally is to listen, and then only say, “I know what it is like to be in that place, and you are not alone.”  Do not try to fix anything.  Do not try to cheer him up.  Whatever you do, do not try to point out how others have it worse or how the present isn't as bad as it might be.  Just be with him. 

In this light, I want to acknowledge my best friend, Stephanie.  I know I can call on her when I need an empathetic ear, and who can give me the right kind of gentle perspective when I ask for it.    She cares enough to send a quick message to check in; she pays attention and helps me feel like I’m not completely alone.  I am grateful for her wisdom and support.

That’s what I’m grateful for today.


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