attributed to both St. Bartholomew and Kahlil Gibran says:
“Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling, with the mistaken
belief that you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What
you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain."
How often have
you said, “I can’t stand this any longer !”? Regardless of the pain with which we struggle
(emotional inner conflicts, physical pain, hurtful relationships or other distressing circumstances), occasionally the bravest among us has uttered such a
feel their resources are at a low point, they may believe they simply can’t continue
in their distressed situation. Yet, as the quotation so clearly states, they have
already faced and handled that pain. What they cannot do is rally themselves
(or even see how) to create a positive life for themselves going forward, with
or without the painful condition still being there. They may be so focused on their distress, they cannot be mindfully present to this very moment in time.
an extreme statement really concerns the fear that the distress will be
unrelenting, or that one won’t know how to manage it in the future.
people don’t know how to look at their lives beyond the pain they are
experiencing (emotional or physical) and reach into other areas that can and
will provide positive feelings. Occasionally people may even say they hurt so
much they can’t imagine a time when things could feel alright again.
that leads people to have such beliefs could be something like a chronic pain
condition or on-going difficult emotional/behavioral situation that
realistically is likely to include suffering in the future. Yet, even so, being too anxious about the future rules out being aware of whatever may be occurring just now. And now is really the only moment there is.
hurt, it’s difficult to see beyond that hurt and realize that life can still—or
once again--be happy, satisfying and rewarding.
can help people find their way back to a positive life by helping them find
inner and outer resources they haven’t been able to achieve alone. Talking
about difficult situations can, in itself, be therapeutic.
psychotherapy is more than that. It is a relationship in which people are able
to find new and different ways to get their needs met, and more adaptive
solutions to difficulties, in order to have a life that is meaningful and good.
suffers from chronic illness/ pain condition, or emotional suffering that comes
from such things as a relationship involving great hurt, high anxiety, stress, loss,
addiction, depression, painful memories or low self-esteem, psychotherapy can
be very helpful in creating a life that will feel worth living again. You don’t
have to live in hopelessness or suffer alone.
QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK YOURSELF:
· Does your current distress leave you feeling cut off from people you
· Have you given up doing many activities you once enjoyed?
· Do you feel convinced that your situation will forever keep you from
being able to try new things or meet new people?
· Do you think life has thrown you a lousy deal—and feel angry or
resentful much of the time?
· Do you feel that reaching out to others would be a bother, because
you’ve done it so many times before?
· Have you ever felt that the only way out of your situation would be
(If you are currently considering suicide, you must immediately go to
your nearest emergency room or dial 911 for help!)
· Do you hate seeing other people out living their lives while you are
· Do you feel hopeless about anything ever changing in your situation?
If you are
experiencing any of the above situations, psychotherapy can be a place to begin
finding ways to make a difference in your life.
Kathi Whitten, LCSW 2011