Real life comes with emotions. Only the dead have no fluctuations in how they are feeling. Live your life with the excitement and joy that comes with our emotions.
Why you should not cry because it’s over but smile because it happened
It allows us to be real:
I remember getting to the end of my first marathon about two miles from completion for reasons that I cannot explain I began to cry. Not some mild pain induced cry but a deep sorrowful weeping.
I wondered what in the world was going on. I don’t cry often and when I do there is typically some sort of cause that I can identify. Maybe all of the emotion and doubts came to a close. There had been moments where I was ready to give up but here I was just two miles from completion.
A family that I knew had just been cheering me on and rooting for me and others were just ahead. Failure was definitely not going to happen. I was stoked. I finished the race and found a tree somewhere away from the crowd so that I could cry in private. Fear came on me as I began to wonder what I would say if someone asked me what was wrong. I had no answer. After doing some research it turns out this is quite normal.
Normally I am seen and want to be seen as unshakable and strong. My most common mantra is, “I am the storm.” But here I was with my emotions out of control and I could not figure out why. I like to be a controlled storm. Here I had just completed something that I had been envisioning for more than a year.
I was proud, I should have been happy. Maybe I was happy. Can you sense my confusion? There was pain, joy and a whole range of emotions. I let them all of those emotions come out and my family ultimately saw them all. We grew close as a family that day and I smile as I think back on that moment where I learned that they can handle me whether I am in control or not.
We learn lessons:
The most common reason that people cry is that they are sad. Something has happened that has impacted them deeply. Grief is often the cause of sadness. Typically we only think of grief when death happens around us. All loss can lead to grief. One of my children lost a stuffed animal when he was about four years old. The stuffed animal was a close comfort item and the fact that the animal never breathed or bled offered no factor in his grief. His grief was very real and we looked all over the house hoping to find “Charlie” just to ease his pain. Unfortunately our search came up empty. Just like a death he had to work through the pain of loss.
Over a year later, we were getting ready to go camping and I asked him to grab his sleeping bag which he happily did. After setting up camp he unrolled his sleeping bag and there in the foot of his sleeping bag was “Charlie”. You have never seen a child so happy in your life.
Looking back my young son learned many valuable lessons from that event
· Grief does not last forever.
· Sometimes what you lost is returned.
· He should have cleaned out his sleeping bag after the last camping trip
Change is ultimately good
My daughter is beautiful, tough, creative and brilliant. She is a bit clumsy at times and has a ready laugh. But change is difficult for her. We recently moved halfway around the country for me to take a new job. For many months she had put on a bold front. But one evening she let the tears flow.
She had surrendered her friends and she missed them. The change had shaken her deeper than I realized. After the tears came I had to shake away the guilt. Will she be in therapy because I decided to take a job? Maybe, but the change was needed for many reasons. Ultimately we are more secure as we moved away from inner city troubles and moved out into the country. We have animals that we are raising for food and her grandparents are now living on our land.
My job is challenging and always interesting. Recently, she took a job that the neighborhood that we used to live in would have been unthinkable but she was uniquely qualified for here. She loves this job and just this week was given a raise. The job has given her opportunities to demonstrate leadership capabilities that would have not been presented to her in our old neighborhood. She is smiling and forgetting about her tears because she now sees that change worked out for her.
She learned several lessons from this experience
· Bottling up the emotions ensures that you are suffering alone.
· Sharing invites others into your real self
Because tough opponents show growth
Unlike in many movies it is unlikely that a new boxer would be given a shot at the title in any weight division. A new boxer must prove himself (or herself) with more and more challenging boxers. A fighter can never get to the top without learning and battling with stronger and more skilled boxers along the way. That is the way that we should begin looking at the more difficult seasons of our life. We have grown to be capable of taking on bigger challenges.
Maybe this is why movies have changed dramatically over the past couple of years with villains getting tougher and tougher. We find it impossible to grow in any task where we don’t get pushed by those with more skills. This is true whether we are learning to play chess or take over the world. We absolutely need people that are better than us in order for us to get better.
· Tough opponents show us where we really are at in our development.
· Tough opponents show us that we are often better than we thought we were.
Change may make us feel like we want to cry and we must allow the tears to come and heal and drive us to accept the changes. We must allow grief to work through the process. Finishing the process, though, by considering all of life and the lessons that we can learn from them are powerful.
One final note, when tough times come we can either learn from them or be destroyed by them. The choice is up to you.