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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: When Doing Your 1% Seems Like Pushing a Truck Uphill in the Mud

Sunday, October 10, 2010

When Doing Your 1% Seems Like Pushing a Truck Uphill in the Mud

"I finally figured out that I had a choice: I could suffer a great deal, or not, for a long time, or I could have the combo platter: suffer, breathe, play, pray, cry and try to help people. There was meaning in the pain. It taught you how to survive with a modicum of grace when you did not get what you wanted." ~ Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually)

The road from suffering to freedom is just so full of potholes. Lately, I've been hearing a lot about the connection between fear and anger, and between forgiveness and freedom.

I hear from wives who are angry when their husbands want to play more golf (or be out more, doing whatever). They feel unloved, and fear they are not important enough, or won't get the love and attention they need. (and, btw, its often not the going out more that bothers wives, its their husbands wanting to).

I hear from husbands who are angry that their wives don't respect them enough. They fear that they are not doing a good enough job, that they are not effective as partners and providers. They are angry that their wives need so much emotional connection. They fear they will not be able to provide it, and then will not get the things they need, like sex, and space, and trust and appreciation.

I hear from singles who are angry they cannot find a life partner. They fear they will always be alone, and missing out on what couplehood has to offer. Or fear they are unloveable or unable to love.

I hear from professionals who are angry they are not making enough money, have to work crazy hours, or may get laid off. They fear for their livelihood, effectiveness and value.
The fears often run far deeper, even, which we discover when we unpack them. And tackling them can feel like pushing a truck uphill in the mud.

The folks in 12 step like to say that if you do your 1%, G-d will do the rest. But sometimes, emotional pain, (and anger is, I think, pretty close to the top of the list as far as emotional pain goes), and fear and frustration often make doing your 1% seem like walking upstream in the deep end of the Amazon River.
Besides, half the time, we don't even know what our 1% is.
But we can find out. And maybe that's enough. Its a good start anyway. It means a lot of talking, or writing or praying. It often involves muddling through a lot of self attack and feelings of self pity, but if we are brave, we can do it. We don't always have to assume the worst about ourselves, or others. We can give good consideration to the best in ourselves, and others, and take it from there.
That, and allowing ourselves to have all our feelings, makes truck pushing and river walking much easier, I think. And it leads the way to forgiveness of ourselves and others, and freedom from the fear and frustration.
The suffering does not have to eclipse the rest of life, and knowing that can help a lot.

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