While I really like to stay positive with this blog, I can’t deny that there are some “bad” things happening in this world, and chance is you might have come across some of those yourself.
While it is understandable (and healthy) do go into the grief and anger phase initially, staying there for a prolonged period of time won’t do any good – neither to you, nor for the ones you’ve might have lost, etc. Though in the moment of pain, we might not believe that there could be any good ingrained in that moment, we often realize later, that our greatest lessons came from those moments of loss, grief and emotional pain.
But to realize the power and lessons those moments have, there are some things you must do, and some things you must avoid.
The Danger of Why-Questions
Very often when we look at the news with all the drama happening in the world or looking back at our own lives with its small or big catastrophes, we might ask ourselves “Why” this happened; “Why” God (in whatever form your believe in it) allowed this to happen?
“Why”” questions can be very dangerous questions, since they can lead into a self-repeating cycle of pain.
Why can be used in a positive way by looking for possible causes that could be controlled better next time, but “Why” can also be used in a negative, down-spiraling way, which will only increase the pain and will give now way to deal better with the current situation or with upcoming situations of this kind.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s assume a child died during a car accident. This in itself is a tragedy happening and the parents and people who loved that child or were involved in that accident have any right to go into grief and all other associated emotions. However from this situation there will come the time when they ask “Why had this happened?”
Now there are 2 ways to use this “Why” questions.
1. The Positive, Empowering Why-Questions
Here we ask for a cause that could be controlled to make this accident become a valuable lesson. Of course the child could not be rescued and brought back, but maybe the death could be used to learn a lesson and help others not suffer the same.
Here a “Why” question that looks for things to change.
- Why wasn’t the driver able to stop? This could lead to look for better lightning of the street, looking for better brake technologies; making parents alert to increasing the signal coloring of their children’s clothing, etc.
You see this will bring up definitive answers that will lead to a second question. “How can this be changed, so this won’t ever happen again?”.
2. The negative, disempowering Why-Questions
These are questions, that will not give you answers that will allow you to change either the state you feel, or the way you (or others) can better handle with such a situation in the future.
Examples: – Why does this (always) happen to me? – Why is God doing this to me? – Why do I have to do this (go to work, have to pay, etc.) again? – Why couldn’t I have stopped it?
In short – a Why question only makes sense, if it is followed by a How-Question that will lead you to change the situation for the better. If however your Why-questions are only increasing your pain, self-pity without giving you hope and a new perspective, they won’t do you good. And anyone including you, who suffered aren’t honored very good through this vicious, non-helpful way of repeating and increasing your own pain.
A “Why” question looking for causes that can be influenced and followed by a “How” question asking for lessons to learn from it and things to change is a valuable tool for overcoming grief.
How-Questions – the Way to Change the Situation
If you come to the point that you accept the situation, then all you can is take it and try to learn from it. Here there is one question you can use: HOW?
- How can I make it better next time?
- How can I make sure this never happens again?
- How can I make sure, that others won’t need to go through this?
- How can I use this to grow stronger?
Emotions – Pain Can Be a Great Chisel to Realize Your Emotional Depth
Very often painful experiences will unleash new levels of emotional depth within us. We might have covered these emotional layers in our day to day life, but going through a painful experience could swipe away those covers and bring us closer to our real self. I often realized (after I’ve gone through the first grief), that emotional pain made me realize again, what being a human is all about.
In this meaning pain can be a chisel that cuts away the layers of suppressed emotions and brings out the real person that was hidden for so long.
I don’t mean you should long for pain to chisel you free. There are definitely other routes to try first. However once you find yourself in such a situation, there comes a time, when reflection will bring you in touch with the real you.