Grief: How to Respond Part V

Greetings. Welcome to my post. My hope and desire is that you will find these posts to be informative and helpful for you. Life is a journey filled with mountains and valleys in our relational life and in our personal life. Sometimes we can predict and make something happen. But sometimes we can never predict an event or relationship difficulty and we need to adjust and cope with these curve balls. At times life can be great but as you know, life can also be difficult and challenging.

When we think of suffering, pain and grief, we also need to separate the difference between good and therapeutic suffering and pain and bad or destructive suffering and pain. The challenge and invitation is to know the difference between the two and to learn and discover the right type of healing to each one.

In considering good pain, it is always a good reminder that pain does lead to health. And good pain not only leads to health but personal and character growth. This type of good pain maybe something we choose or it may be something we do not choose. But regardless, when we recognize that good pain can produce good results in our life, it is important to place value on this and find ways to participate and seek new ways to learn and grow. Life is filled with lessons and responding to good pain can be very helpful.

People often come to see me when they are in pain. They may be depressed, in a bad marriage or relationship, overwhelmed with financial problems, and the stress of losing their home or their children. They are trying really hard to stay above water but all they know what to do is to keep on fighting. But most of the time I remind people that maybe the best thing for them to do is to stop trying. Perhaps some of their pain is the battle they take on to try to keep it all together and try to keep up this image that they can handle some pain and problems in their life. Maybe you also are trying to keep up this image of being superman or superwomen.

So when a medical problem comes into their life, they say to themselves that they do not have time to deal with this. People will say to me that they did feel the lump in their breast or the pain in their stomach, or the chest pain, or the blood in their stools, and they just figure it is something that they can handle on their own. So they try and fix this medical problem on their own given that is how they approach all problems in their life. But this attitude only gets them into further problems and more pain in their life when the medical pain overwhelms them and they finally give up and go into the hospital or go see their medical doctor to figure out what is going on. This waiting, avoiding, minimizing and excusing away their medical pain are all attempts to ward off bad pain in their life thinking that time, their strategy, and over the counter medication will fix it.

But it does not. So they do have to go through good pain and have the medical staff at a local hospital or at the doctor’s office prescribe the right type of medicine and treatment that brings about relief, and not adding to the bad pain. Often times people will stay way too long in a burning house or a bad situation thinking they can handle it as they try to keep up this reputation of being a super person when if they had ran out of the burning house, said no to someone abusing them, say yes to someone helping them with their financial problems, and giving permission and consent to someone to treat them medically is the right type of good pain they need to know and experience. Pain is always going to come in our life. The answer we all need to decide is how to make pain a good pain so we can let go and let God and others help us with our pain.

But when we avoid asking for help, try to keep it all together, and tell people you are fine, then that will only lead to a bad strategy thinking you can fix yourself and you will stay stuck in bad pain given your stubbornness to refuse to ask for help. But when you admit you need help, recognize your need for others, you can enter the healing path of good pain to bring about better health. People are watching you from the sideline and they do want to help. The challenge for all of us is when are you going to let them? Can you let go of your need to be strong, be in control, and try to do it your way recognizing this approach only leads to further pain in your life? Will you admit to yourself that you do need help and say yes to good pain for the purpose of healing in your life?