Reflection #5: Suffering

Suffering changes you; if you let it, those changes can be fuel towards something good or they can destroy you. Unfortunately we are often raised being taught to focus on being kind and loving towards others first; since young we are taught our emotions, wants and likes are secondary. Although many parents mean well, without knowing it they perpetuate a dysfunctional system. It is no wonder we grow up to be inpatient with ourselves…no wonder there is so much negative self talk. The faulty teachings we were raised with, don’t lead us to be stronger but weaker…less resilient.

At some point or another, life through crises gives us a crush course in learning to love ourselves; we then tend to realize, we were never as strong as we thought ourselves to be. Of course we weren’t, how could we have learn to be, when our focus was on giving the best of us to others? By the time it came to us, all we got, was the left overs. In our desire to escape this painful reality we told ourselves we were being strong by detaching; denying ourselves love and patience.

Even though life tries to rescue us by forcing us to face a crisis, we approach it as one would an enemy. To top it, since no one can hit harder than life, as we get knocked down time and time again, we don’t reflect…instead we simply react–no thinking or feeling involved, just the desire to make it stop. We run to quick fixes or we start punishing ourselves by constantly repeating the incessant question “what is wrong with me?”….yet what is wrong is not who we are, but the program implemented. The question should not be “what is wrong with me” but “what is hurting in me”...that seems to be a lot kinder, more accepting and more loving…after all aren’t we worth love and kindness?

Human beings can either expand on their humanity or have it severed through false programming; where one believes himself to be kind and humane yet the concept can be a very abstract one. Overall, I think human beings are like pearls…pearls are beautiful but also the result of pain.

One day I just sat there thinking about it… “what are pearls?” “How are they form?”…life was about to help me understand a beautiful lesson. Pearls are the result of a foreign or undesirable substance into the interior of the oyster–such as a parasite or a grain of sand. On the inside of the shell is a lustrous substance called NACRE, when a grain of sand penetrates, cells begin to work and cover the grain of sand with layers and more layers to protect the helpless body from the Oyster–as a result, a cute pearl is formed. An Oyster that was not injured does not produce pearls, because pearls are wounds that healed….isn’t that interesting–I thought it was beautiful.

I know life can hurt at times; we are mistreated, abused, rejected. We can lack self esteem, self worth, self love. From one day to the next our whole life as we know it or as we have identified with, can come crushing down… we can lose a job, status, family. We can be misinterpreted, misjudged, bullied. We can lose those who loved us or we realize they never did…we can be left all alone. A million different things can happen, so how do we get back up? I believe the secret lies in seeing ourselves as pearls…in transforming pain into something beautiful.

I often wonder about life, specially on the days I battle with depression. Although I still struggle, I feel blessed for the days I don’t. I feel blessed every time I help someone else find their way. In my line of work–coaching/counseling–as you help someone else, you are also identifying your own wounds…even though you are helping someone else, you are still helping yourself. Sometimes you get to see a different perspective for them and for you. I guess it comes down to what makes you truly happy; I am happy when I can help a life become a better life– I feel in some small way I am making difference. I don’t do it for the credit, I do it because I know what hurt feels like, what everyone giving up on you feels like. I also know what it is to directly and/or indirectly cause pain to others. In other words, helping others means I am preventing others from experiencing the feelings of loneliness I went through. Other times, I am giving back to life for any hurt I may have caused.

An old mentor said to me “Dive in below the surface, beneath the layers of false conditioning…you will have to do the work to let those go and then cover your wounds with layers upon layers of genuine love”. Unfortunately most people believe they don’t have the time or patience to do this, yet is it really about time? I think is about fear…the fear to discover how much we have invested on a persona instead of being.

Those who keep running, often become sarcastic, resentful; specially if they are trying to avoid their own responsibilities. Forgiveness and love become simply words we say to others yet when we need to implement them, it is rare for people to genuinely do so–thus I call those people empty oysters; not because they have not been wounded (for life wounds us all in small or big ways) but because they don’t know or care to learn how to forgive themselves nor others. They would rather feed and hold resentment, not realizing or accepting that no life is perfect….none of us have made it through life without hurting ourselves and others.

I call them empty oysters because they lack the strength to transform pain into love…genuine love–for strength is not something you just pretend you have; strength is like a muscle, it has got to be built. Even though we are divine and powerful, and even though we have the seeds of strength within, if we don’t nurture them, strength won’t develop.

As holidays approach, my wish would be for more people to stop giving a shit about impressing others and actually thinking about who they are and about those they resent (for life is a mirror). I wish they would look in and realize no amount of honey words, money, gifts or anything else will change what they are becoming by feeding resentments.

My wish would be for all of us to start looking at ourselves as precious pearls; because when your whole world comes crushing down, you have a chance to do something you could not have done before…RISE UP!

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars"
Kahlil Gibra
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By Sofia Falcone

I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges, victories, hopes and learnings, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves!

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