Monday, July 25, 2011

Lost . . . and found

In many ways, this has been a year of loss for me; some of the losses have been necessary and good, some of them have not.

I was raised to believe that "no one wants to hear about your troubles;" and while I do believe in the power of positive thinking, and the importance of attitude, I have also come to the realization that there are times when I need the comfort of knowing that people love me, even when I'm hurting and sad. I don't think I'm alone in that; I think we all need to be reassured that we're still loved, even when we're not particularly lovable.

"She's just doing that to get attention. Don't give it to her."

How many time have we heard that, or said it ourselves? How many times have we felt resentful towards the people who are doing that to us - or hurt by the people who think we're doing it to them? How can we tell the difference between a play for attention, or a real need for love?

I'm good at asking questions; I don't have any answers. But, lately, I've been coming to the conclusion that it's important to honor our struggles. It's important to validate other people's efforts, and to mourn their losses with them. We all need to be told that it's okay to hurt; that we don't have to keep all the pain inside.

Pain happens; hurt happens; loss happens. I think we need to let ourselves pay attention to that; we don't have to give ourselves over to it, and we shouldn't let other people's trouble overwhelm our lives, but if we can stop for a moment, look someone in the eye, and let them know that we care, we should.

I know how much that has meant to me this year.