Staying with very difficult and stormy feelings is about as testing as it gets for man. Sometimes a kind voice from another can gently nudge you out of these dense and believable feelings. Staying with the pain and recognising it and investigating it is very hard. We may find that the hurt is old somehow, in as much as it seems familiar, and we may get the sense of our unease having been around before.
When we are surrounded and somewhat engulfed by our sensations we may lean towards keeping them inside as they can be viewed as ‘dangerous’ feelings. The thought of sharing them with others may annihilate the listener or may lead us to believe that we may be outcast or abandoned by the other person. We also have a tendency to believe that we should not be feeling or thinking such thoughts which creates a divide inside of how we should be feeling against what we actually are. Self soothing and acceptance can help and personally I find it helpful to share these feelings with others.
The American psychologist Rollo May said “We are more apt to feel depressed by the perpetually smiling individual than the one who is honestly sad. If we admit our depression openly and freely, those around us get from it an experience of freedom rather than the depression itself.” Another quote from Rollo May which may give our emotions a sense of purpose is “One does not become fully human painlessly.”
If you are working towards a greater understanding and acceptance within yourself with the help of therapy, old stories and ways of viewing the world and ourselves are slowly eroded away leaving a sense of emptiness. When this happens not only do we feel a sense off loss, we may also be left wondering about our purpose in life and who we really are. We may realise that our old patterns of behaviour may have not served us well in the past and it makes sense that we need to grieve and say goodbye to them. It takes courage to say to the world, this is me take it or leave it. It is much easier to conform to ourselves and society and this is what most people tend to do. We may be in limbo with anxiety, who’s purpose is to keep us away from discovering our true selves, but when we can manage to live with anxious feelings by our side, our next step is to face what is underneath, which is yet another difficult and painful task, but a task that is necessary for our personal growth and freedom within.
“Steady, patient growth in freedom is probably the most difficult task of all, requiring the greatest courage. Thus if the term “hero” is used in this discussion at all, it must refer not to the special acts of outstanding persons, but to the heroic element potentially in every man.” ~ Rollo May
12 responses to “Growth and the Search for Oneself.”
Extremely thought-provoking posting Will ~ the search for our True Self & the willingness/courage to abandon the more familiar facade of our False Self is, indeed, one of the hardest challenges we face.
Thanks Peter, Once again I really appreciate your comments.
Deep. Profound. Important. Peter’s comment can not be bettered by anything I could write or say. Cheers Will for writing this.
You’re welcome Julian, glad this touched you mate. In short, we don’t have to go through the journey alone. Thanks so much for posting.
A powerful write, Wil. And a courageous one! Took me years to own up to anger, for example. Own up..face it, and know why..then let it go. If we’re human, we are constantly “owning up”, facing and changing…if we dare grow. Thank you for sharing this!
Welcome Fu, really glad you liked this post and associated with it too. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a response : )
Your article, truly profound, really resonated with me, Will. My experience right at this very moment has been that by letting ourselves feel the pain is the accepting we need to do. Understanding only happens when we do not grasp for the understanding, because if we grasp for it, we clutch on a straw, which is just a facet of the truth that allows us to still the pain with denial (a result of not seeing the other facets of the truth). Only when we fully surrender to the pain, can we see the truth in all its multi-faceted glory, which cuts like hell, but which shines so brilliantly with our enlightenment.
When we take our “the problem” away we then ask ourselves, “who am I?” and that is the hard part, because we need to redefine who we are when we say good bye to “the problem”. This is exactly where I am at too.
Thank you so much, Will, for sharing this.
So appreciative of your comments Q, I like your point about not grasping for understanding as the mind has a tendency to do that, to work it out and find a place for the feelings where there may be nothing but the pain in itself. I guess there is a large element of faith in the process too. Thanks!!!
Spot on Will. Being authentic matters.
Thanks Christine for the support as always.
So good to read this right now. How often will I return to this same point? It’s so helpful to have read this; it’s so articulate, I feel sad that I re-visit the same point but thankfully I guess it’s due to different stimuli, maybe that means progress?
The idea of progress is probably the most difficult thing to come to terms with as we are split, as in part of us feels the progress and part of us feels the stagnation as if nothing has changed. I think you have hit the point here. Growth does not seem to go forewords but around in circles. Painful acceptance, that we simply don’t know, can only leave us with faith. Thanks Helen so much.