I was lost, lonely, empty, and confused for a stretch of time during, and after my second divorce. I didn’t know why she’d picked that path, and couldn’t make sense of it. Reflecting deeply on my part and how I could learn and grow from it, though, was what brought me back to “life”, so to speak. As a lifelong student in learning how to thrive, what Jesus calls having an abundance of life, I think this dichotomy is fascinating. When it comes to flourishing in our journeys, I find while none of us escapes pain and hurt/harm, those who make meaning of their hardships thrive, while those who don’t suffer.
Along those lines, Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama observe making meaning of our trials and tribulations ennobles us, while failing to embitters us. Honestly, this feels so true I can’t help but see it everywhere I look! The question is, how do we make meaning of life’s travails? I think it starts by realizing: While most of what happens in life is beyond our control, we do get to decide what we do with it inside of us.
For instance, when I was suffering during the divorce, I was playing the blame and “woe is me” game. Conversely, when my mentality shifted to “how can I learn and grow from this?”, was when deep joy and wellness crept back into my life.
The sister on this path to fullness is compassionate understanding—as in believing the best about everyone involved in the hardship, and extending love to others in similar situations. It’s realizing everyone is truly doing the best they can, and then curiously exploring why they did ____. This can involve reflection, conversations, studies, therapy, and more. Truly the more our understanding of others’ actions makes sense to us, the more ALIVE we become!
We either transform or transmit our pain—and when it’s transformed, we can be grateful for the ways it’s blessed us. What’s more, we then get to pass the lessons from our journey through hardships into flourishing along to others! I wonder: How have you seen this in your life and/or might it help you?
Hugs & Love,
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