“Pain is inevitable when you are a human being, but suffering is an option.” Anthony Robbins~
I was speaking with a client earlier this week that was in a state of misery when we started our conversation due to her living situation. The more we talked the more she realized, she was actually better off than she was giving herself credit for.
She was feeling completely deflated and was severely suffering from her circumstances. Her living situation had pretty much fallen apart and she had to put all of her belongings in storage and was staying with a friend “to get back on her feet.”
I could hear the fear, pain and suffering over the phone line like a vortex that if I would not have known better, could have sucked the very life out of me as well. The dark cloak of panic had the best of her and she was literally being swallowed up by her own story.
I asked her, “What are you making it mean that you had to put your belongings into storage?” Her first response was another long-winded story about how this was not fair and that she deserved to be making more money and a beautiful home and “why was this happening?” Again, I asked the question, “What are you making it mean that your things are in storage?” She went on explaining to me, that she knew they were only things but she wanted her things. Again, I paused and gently asked the question, “What are you making it mean, that your things are in storage?”
“Is this a trick question?” She asked me. I replied, “No, not at all. Just take a moment and check-in with yourself, because maybe you do not even realize what you are making it mean.” There was silence on the other end of the telephone line. Finally after a moment, “I am making it mean that I failed, that I am a loser, that I screwed up.”
“When you think and believe these thoughts that you screwed up, you failed, and that you are a loser, how do you feel?” I asked. “Well, I feel lousy, I feel awful, and I feel like I cannot go on.” She replied.
I asked her, “Are these thoughts helping you in any way?” This question stopped her in her tracks. There was another long pause on the other end. I could almost hear the discovery process that was happening for her, like an engine that was trying to start after sitting for months with no gasoline running through its lines.
She slowly replied, “Not really, I guess. But this is what is happening to me! And I don’t like it.”
Yes, your stuff is in storage. All that it has to mean is, your stuff is in storage, that is it. It does not have to carry the meaning of this other junk you are attaching to the experience.”
It was if the engine started, when she replied, “ I guess I never thought about it that way.”
I went on to ask her, “Is it really true you are a loser or you failed and cannot go on?”
“Not entirely,” she admitted. “Wow, I have been beating myself up over here, haven’t I?”
“If you could forgive yourself and accept where you are now in your process, what would be possible?” I asked.
“I could probably start moving forward instead of fighting with myself and my situation. I could actually sit here and appreciate my friend, and where I am now.”
“That sounds nice. How does that make you feel when you think about that?” I asked.
She started to giggle from her soul when she replied, “A whole lot better than, kicking my own ass and suffering over it!”