This Is How We Grow

Often, when we are going through trials or heartache, we ask “Why?”.  Why Me? Why did this happen? Why am I struggling so much?  Why did my loved one have to die?  We seek answers to questions that have no answers, at least not in this life.  When we are in the midst of personal suffering, we can experience a range of emotions- anger, confusion, betrayal, despair, hurt, sadness.  Often, these emotions get wrapped up in a tight ball in our chest, our stomach, our heart.  It is hard to tell where one emotion ends and the other one starts.

this is how we grow
In the book, This Is How We Grow, Dr Christina Hibbert, PsyD  offers some very interesting insight into grief and our eternal asking of “why”.  She writes:

The question I find more helpful is “How?” “How do I carry on?”  “How do I do what I’m being asked to do?” “How do I learn from this?” “How” is a question of commitment, a question of action, a question of faith.  “How” is an acceptance, willingness, and patience. Though we may not understand “why”, the answer to “how” is always there, if we simply ask. (page 36).

I love this quote, as it changes and reframes our grief experience. By asking “how”, it does not take away our pain, our sadness, our grief but instead of being stuck in a helpless “why” state, it empowers us to now do something or learn something new about ourselves.  When you find yourself again, there is a stronger, more empowered YOU.  YOU were able to overcome, to manage to stay alive, even when you felt your heart was breaking into a million tiny pieces and fear consumed you.  You are still here, you didn’t give up.  You are stronger than you will ever know and yet, as that anniversary rolls around, you will still feel pain and grief and sorrow. This is the beautiful part of bittersweet.  We can move forward, and still feel and experience the joys with the sorrows.  That is not being stuck in your grief.  It just means you are human and continuing to grow.

Nothing can change the experience you have gone through and the ones you have yet to go through.  Loss is part of living, it is a part of life.  However, as we continue our journey is life, changing the “why” to asking “How” may make this mile and this season as little less daunting and a little more empowering.

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