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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Is It Worth the Effort? (Landing on the Upside of Hope)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Is It Worth the Effort? (Landing on the Upside of Hope)

  • "How you spend your days is how you spend your life..." Writer Annie Dillard

  • So, I am thinking about hope. And about resiliency and about moving forward, about acceptance and about effort. And a lot of folks I know are thinking about these as well. I like the idea of paying attention to what we believe about the intersection of hope and effort and emotional pain and healing... so here are some thoughts...

Is it worth the effort?...

It's the question that nags at our psyches...but it nags quietly. And it has many variations...

Is it worth the effort it takes to work through my anger?
Is it worth the effort it takes to say the right things even when s/he has hurt me so much?
Is it worth it to help him/her understand what I need? (When I wish they would know already)
Is it worth showing up at a 12 step meeting when I'm not really so bad off right now?
Is it worth it to talk about past pains, since they are in the past?
Is it worth it to reach out to someone I've hurt and make amends?
Is it worth it to learn how to forgive?
Is it worth it to keep a budget?
Is it worth it keep talking when I can't exactly define how it helps?
Is it worth it to work on the issues in my marriage?
Is it worth it to learn about my character?
Is it worth it to develop my creative side? To write? To sing? To paint? To dance?
Is it worth it to sit quietly and learn how to slow down?
Is it worth the effort to read things that will inform me, support me, inspire me?
Is it worth it to pray? To meditate?
Is it worth it to consult with someone when I am confused, impulsive or trying to understand something better?
Is it worth it to remember to be grateful for what I do have?
Is it worth the effort to take care of my mind, by body and my soul?

and then this, too...

Am I worth it?
Is s/he worth it?
Am I better off on my own?
Is it (am I) worth the money?
Is it (am I) worth the time?

and then this, too...

What if it doesn't help?
What if it doesn't work?
What if it no one approves?
What if the results are not fast enough?
What if it seems too hard?
What if s/he hurts me again?
What if I have to sludge through a lot difficult feelings?
What if.....(you fill in the blank...)

and what if it is worth it? Or at least worth an honest try?

I think sometimes that when things seem bleak, hope almost seems painful, as if answering "no, its probably not worth it" will protect us from further hurt, further disappointment, further frustration.

I land on the upside of hope. Yes, I think, in most cases, its always worth it.


Mehdi A. said...

It does worth it, until the definition of "worth' changes...that's when one might out side help.
Thanks for sharing.

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...


Yes, the definition of worth is indeed important!


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Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Sure Asia,

Good luck with your grad school search!


Grace said...

Where do you find that "worth" when all you were told and "learned" about yourself is you are worth"less"?

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Hi Grace,

Such an important question...I tend to encourage therapy, 12 step, good reads on the topic...

glad you stopped by!


Sarah said...

When you've come out the other end it can be easy to see that it was worth it. But much much harder to see when you're in the middle of it. I suppose if you don't keep going and dealing with the pain then you'll never find out if it's worth it or not. I've found that life is beautiful on the other side and worth the effort.

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Thanks Sarah!

Well said and agreed!