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Strength in Sorrow: Death, Divorce, and Loss

Strength in Sorrow: Death, Divorce, and Loss

It is our contention that sorrow and grief are key reasons so many suffer from depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse. Somewhere in the past something happened that has led us to an unhealthy way of thinking, feeling, and living. Sometimes we just put the past behind us and pretend it never happened. We are told to suck it up and move on. We could take the other approach that seems to be prevalent in our society and just focus on the past and not live life in the present or here and now as it is called. The sad truth is both of these ways of handling sorrow from our past can cause unneeded pain and further complicate our lives in the future. So what can we do? The pain is real and the advice we have been given doesn’t seem to help. Well, I can tell you that there is hope and understanding that is the key to a better life.

The situation offers us two choices. One, we live our life with the pain and do what we can to ‘get by’. This is how most of us deal with life’s tragic events. As stated above, it really is not a healthy way of dealing with things. The second option is that we take on the sorrow head on. This sounds tough and it is, but it offers you not only healing, but gives you the tools to live a joyful life with a deeper understanding of who you are. Talking to someone about your experience is almost always your best choice. Talking with someone who has gone through the grieving process can help you find your own inner strength. I have done my own bit of research on this as I have suffered much in my own life. The thing that strikes me the hardest is that most people who have really made a difference on this earth have found a way to turn their sorrow into strength. It is a humbling process to admit that we are in need of help. Many of us live our life in pain thinking we are being strong. Strength, real strength, only comes to the humble. Those who have beaten addictions know this and in many ways our sorrow can turn into a sort of addiction. It controls our life and saps away the power we need to live our life with a purpose. I know it may feel like holding onto our pain is strength, but it is an illusion. So how can talking to a therapist help? Let me first add that it doesn’t need to be a therapist. It can be a family member, friend, or a clergy member. The key for this is that the person is objective to your sorrow. That is why it is good to talk with someone who has no bias in your situation. That means the person is not afraid to tell you things that may feel hard to take. If the conversations are done with purpose and with empathy, you will have the ability to grow from the sorrow.

So what is sorrow? The simplest way to describe sorrow is that it is a sadness caused by a loss. Most of us equate sorrow with death. We all feel the sting of death at some point in our life. This kind of grief is to many the hardest of all. To really deal with it we need to dig deep and find out what it is we value. That is to say, we need to find out what our core beliefs are. No therapist can tell you what those values are, but a good therapist can help you find out what you believe and value. This will give you a solid foundation to face anything life can throw at you. This is a process and the only part of that process I can offer you on a short blog like this is ‘Keep hope in your heart’. I know that sounds cliche, but it is the heart and soul of not only recovery, but it is the key to making you a person of strength. I urge you to Google others that have found their strength and sense of purpose when tragedy arose in their life. The list is endless. From Winston Churchill to Abraham Lincoln, Corrie Ten Boom, Princess Diana, and Betty Ford who took her sorrow and depression and used it to help millions of people who suffered from addictions. These people may be the few and the famous, but millions of people have lived a life of purpose and joy by finding hidden strength in the midst of sorrow.

There is one other point I would like to touch on. Sorrow and grief comes from a loss. Although losing a loved one or friend is a major category of this, there are other forms of loss that can hurt us. Divorce, loss of a job, loss of an opportunity, or lost joy caused from depression. There is no sorrow that is insignificant if it matters to you. You need to know that. If it is important to you, it is important. That is part of knowing who you are and the process for dealing with any sorrow is something that takes time and effort.

The approach to recovery is both practical and emotional. That is to say, there is healing in just talking about your life and there is recovery found in such things as journals, list making, and reading. A good therapist will work with you on your level and find the right balance to help you find your inner strength. There is hope for us all and the first step is often found in stepping out of our comfort zone and talking with someone.