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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Top Five Starting Places

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top Five Starting Places

So people often ask me if it's possible to save their marriage or renew it. Or to feel better, to find love, to advance or start a career. When things seem broken or dark, hope hides. Sometimes people walk in the door hurt, angry, frustrated, in despair. Not everyone. Folks come in for all sorts of reasons. There is no shortage of good topics when it comes to the self. But people want to know if there is hope. They want to know if marriages can be repaired, if trust can be restored, if love can be dug out from under anger, hurt, betrayal. They want to know if they even want that. They want to know if emotional gaps can be bridged, if sex lives can be reinvented, if old angers can be let go of, and old relationships can be healed.

I can't profess to know of course. But I can tell you that I've seen it. I can tell you that I have experienced it. I can tell you that yes, many things are possible. How it happens that things can go from bad to better, from pain to pleasure, from old to renewed, I'm not sure exactly (though there are many good theories and practices that apply). But if I had to name my top five starting points for bringing about healing, relief and renewal, I'd say they are these, in no particular order and without the theory for now:

~Willingness to talk: about yourself, your wishes, your feelings, your thoughts. Even if you don't know exactly what they are or where they will lead. Even if you are scared, skeptical, annoyed or angry.

~Willingness to look at yourself, your history, your patterns, your reactions. Gently and at whatever pace seems to work best. This too can be discovered over time.

~Understanding that the above does not always come as fast or as easily as we might like but it's worth a continued effort to keep at it. And sometimes slower is better.

~Understanding that you don't have to know exactly what you want or need before you begin.

~Understanding that most of what we do, conscious or unconscious is usually how we survive, and in that context our defenses that no longer serve us well - or that do still - are not comments on our self worth but just our humanity.

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