What to Do With Adversity? Face It. Feel It.
Gone With the Wind is a fabulous movie. It’s a timeless look at humanity. One of the strongest scenes is when Scarlett is seen in the arms of her brother in law, Ashley. Her husband, Rhett Butler, won’t allow his disgraced wife to hide. He demands that she go to Melanie’s party and show her face.
It’s a great example of how to deal with fear, shame, guilt, humiliation, grief, or anxiety. You just face it. Feel it. Put on your best dress. Do your hair, nails, and make up and stand in your truth.
Pain is a great teacher. It can’t teach you if you hide it or run from it. In Gone With the Wind, by facing down the gossip, Scarlett saved her reputation. The gesture said, “I am here!” and created space for her to continue living and interacting with people and life. This allowed her to have control over her life rather than letting the gossip control her. You can’t heal in the fetal position. Stand up! Face it. Feel it.
Wild is a movie about a woman taking a solo 1,100 mile hike where she left herself no option but to face it. Feel it. She looked at all her behaviors and gave no excuses. Instead of using energy to push her feelings away or deny them, she felt them. This created cracks where the sunshine could get in. At the end of her journey, she was empty. This emptiness created space where something new could blossom. Something more positive.
Life is always changing. We move from emptiness to fullness and back again. We circle from strength to weakness, youth to maturity, and innocence to wisdom and back again. It’s the necessary nature of things if growth is to happen. While withdrawing sitting in silence and contemplation, and resting is part of that circle too, that time is not meant for denial or hiding. Withdrawing from life isn’t living.
There is a lot of juice in pain! Energy needs to flow. Let yourself face it. Feel it. This requires courage, strength, and vulnerability. It may feel like this will kill you. It won’t. However, it will strip you of the very thing that ails you. When it’s done, if you do it mindfully, it will leave you with a greater sense of who you are. You may feel more compassion for yourself, a greater understanding of others, and an increased connection with life.
There are no “bad” emotions and no “bad” experiences if you use them to take you to the next place. Everything is as it should be. If you need help getting through the rough spots, reach out. Help is available.