Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Journal: And That... is Enough.

**EDIT: You can now read what this post is referring to here.

I have recently been faced with a trial that has left me numb and completely emotionally checked out.  Numb is not a place I am comfortable being anymore.  I want nothing to do with it.  But I am so stuck in it right now and I have no clue how to get out of it.  This trial I've been given is worthy of freak outs, of temper tantrums, of bouts of rage, of frantic anxiety, of hysterical laughter, of headache inducing eye rolls and it is most worthy of soul cleansing tears streaming down my face, falling gently to the floor.  But I have felt none of it.  I have prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me, to just let me cry, but still the tears will not flow.

One thing I started to do in hopes of pushing myself into a better place was I began comparing this trial to other's trials and also comparing it to what "didn't happen."  I did this, and tend to do this, in order to grasp some level of gratitude.  A good friend of mine noticed what I was doing and gently directed me toward Jane's blog post on this very topic.

I should mention that Jane was inspired by a post Julie wrote on gratitude. So thank you, Jane and Julie, for spreading your light so far...

I was gently taught by Jane's blog post that any comparison of my trials to other's trials, or to what I "should" be is unhealthy, even if my purpose in doing so is to catapult myself into a better place.

We hear it all the time:

  • After suffering a miscarriage: "Just be grateful you already have a child" or "just be grateful you can get pregnant when others aren't able to"
  • After the loss of a living child: "Just be grateful you were able to spend the time you did with your child"
  • After a spouse is unfaithful on some level: "Well at least they didn't...(insert next level of infidelity)"

The list is endless...

But all these types of statements are telling us is:

  • Your feelings aren't valid - stop feeling them
  • Your pain doesn't matter because someone else is hurting worse than you
  • You are a horrible person for feeling sad/hurt/angry

Julie is wise in her words when she says:
Gratitude is not born of comparison.  Teddy Roosevelt said that "Comparison is the thief of joy." I believe that is true whether we are comparing ourselves to individuals we consider to be "above" us or those who seem to be "below" us.  Comparison robs us of joy because it forces us to rank ourselves on some imaginary scale of happiness, when no such scale exists.  Happiness is not linear, it's not a ladder to be climbed.  It is more fluid like water.  It moves around us and through us.  Sometimes it fills us, and sometimes we thirst for it."
Beautiful...

It is true, comparison does rob us of joy.  Comparison robs us of the freedom to acknowledge the situations and circumstances that bring us heartache.  Disallowing ourselves the agency to acknowledge our feelings leaves us sedimentary in denial.  When comparing we are not being honest about our own feelings because we are more focused on what others are feeling.  We cannot move through our feelings if we can't even muster validating them.  We are shaming our feelings and treating them as if they are unworthy.  And because we can't validate our feelings we are eventually robbed of the most beautiful and exquisite joy that comes on the other side of such heartache.  Joy that only the Atonement can bring, because that joy is derived from feeling the personal touch of the Savior's healing balm.  Such healing and subsequent joy can't take place if we don't even acknowledge our pain and deep need for His balm.

I have spent (wasted) much time comparing myself to others and especially to "what/who I should be" in order to find threads of gratitude to get me through this trial.  But as Jane says:
What I have is neither "more" or "less" than anyone else.  Gratitude is not found in focusing on the pain of someone else to belittle my own.
This trial that I have been given isn't more or less painful/devastating/horrible/hurtful than anyone else's.  It just is (period)... It... just.... is.

Our feelings and emotions are not good or bad, they just are.  They are real and they are worth validating.  Our feelings are real.

My feelings are real.

I am hurting right now.
I am sad.
I am angry.
I am frustrated.
I am scared.

Underneath anyway... underneath the crust of numb.

Jane moves on to say:
My pain is real, and comparing my pain to someone else's pain whether to make myself feel more self-pity because my trials are "worse," or to guilt myself into feeling gratitude because my trials are "better" is not productive.  Nor does it foster a healthy, compassionate empathy, but rather feelings of either jealousy or superiority.
I do not want to feel either jealous or superior to anyone.  We are all equal and I strive each day to love everyone equally.  What I do want is to find joy in my own skin.  So instead of searching for joy and gratitude by comparing myself to others or some unseen perfect 'me' I will find joy in things that are already true and good.

I find joy in the absolute knowledge that this trial will be for my refinement, if I let it.  If I let Him.  I may not feel so now, but I know it to be truth because I have a sure testimony that God absolutely would not send me through meaningless fires for no reason.  This blaze is burning hot and on the other side, as I exit this refining furnace - completely malleable, I will find my Master who will work swiftly to shape me into a stronger and more purified instrument.

Even though I cannot seem to break through the crust of numb that has encased my heart, I can and do find gratitude for that which I am facing.  I just no longer find it by way of comparison to others or by comparing myself to what I "should" be.

Instead I find gratitude in what I have.

I have my God
I have my faith

And that... is enough.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Sidreis!! Today has been a bumpy and super doubtful day for me too! I found myself wanting to give up my goal of being able to put in my mission papers for just a chance to throw shot put in college. Your blog always gives me so much strength and hope whenever I seem to find myself here!! I've worked way to hard for where I'm at now and even my recovery, just to give it up and sign my name to a college track team. I know what I want now and I just know that serving my Heavenly Father is what I'm supposed to do right now. :) Keep it up!! I love seeing your progress and hard work!

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  2. I mean, my sister just signed her name to throw for a college and got an amazing scholarship and her new coach wants me now too. That's basically where the first comment came from. I should be grateful for my recovery and worthiness to serve a mission now. I've worked so hard for this! I guess seeing her success tempted me to compare myself to that and picture what I "should" be, instead of choosing and being the instrument that my Heavenly Father wants me to be.

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    1. Great insight! Dang, for some reason I am super curious who you are! Do I know you? Haha..

      Anyway - I'm so happy you are working to serve a mission. What an absolutely noble path you are taking.

      So proud of you!:-)

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    2. You think? I've been following your amazing blog for awhile now but no, you don't know me. Lol I don't think so anyway! Just a 18 year old girl from MT! ;)

      Thank you!!! It's been a long and rough road but I wouldn't trade it for anything right now!

      Thanks! That means a lot!
      -Rachelle

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    3. Seriously!? So awesome! I'm from MT too! Ok well I don't live there now... but... hey, you should email me. bythelightofgrace@gmail.com.

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  3. Sid, thank you for posting this. It is exactly how I have been feeling for a while. The Lord doesn't want us to withhold our feelings from Him. He already knows! I'm praying for you and pulling for you. I haven't felt the joy, but I am trying. You are wonderful!

    Love you! -Stacey

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    1. Thanks Stacey! You're right:-) And you rock too!

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  4. I love you and I know what it's like to feel numb when I feel like I "should" feel something else. Dang it all!! I say let it ride. The numbness may be protecting you now. I had a most devastating trial once, and at first I thought I didn't feel sad, but I only felt numb. Honestly, I'm very grateful for that numbness because I wasn't ready for the pain of the reality. Maybe this isn't exactly encouraging, but the pain did come, and it came in increments that I was able to handle. Joy came, too. Peace came, too. Don't focus on what you are or aren't feeling. Just let it be! Whatever it is, let it be. It's okay, because it IS.

    I often offer unsolicited advice. Please know that behind it all is a caring friend who wants to help. Joy to you, sister.

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    1. You're thoughts are most welcome:-)

      And yes, I do feel the numbness is a blessing and that's why I haven't complained about it too much, it's still just uncomfortable for me. And really, all I want is one good cry... just to feel human again.

      But all in the Lords timing, and in the end, I surrender to Him. I've prayed for tears, He has heard it, and I know He'll answer that prayer when the time is right.

      Thanks girl!

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  5. I was deeply touched by this. It's okay to FEEL. Men and women. We are emotional, social beings. I'm so so so glad that we have people we can share with. This addiction would KILL me if I didn't have people to connect with. I love your hope, your testimony, and your openness/honesty.

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    1. Thanks Warrior! I'm with you. I'd be a mess with out connection. Finding my recovery group and now this online community has been vital to my recovery. :-)

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  6. Thanks for this amazing post. I have been sick all week and have found myself deep deep in that rut of comparison to others. I do this often. It's hard but I try to remember as we have all been told Most often when we compare ourselves to others we compare their best with our worst. I am grateful for this post to remind me that it just is. My past and addictions/sins are and I can take ownership for them and move past. I don't have to suffer in a way that XYZ person thinks I should but just do what I can do. The Savior fills in the rest. Love you.

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    1. It;s so easy to fall into that trap isn't it? I literally have to tell myself to shut up when I get all comparison-ee.

      I think comparing robs us of the ability to truly be accountable too.. when we say "well at least I didn't do THAT"... we rob us of the chance to say "I did do this, and I'm sorry"

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    2. I didn't even realize how much I'd need this post today til well after I read it. I re-read it and also Julie's post on her blog that you referenced. Man I this was a direct answer to a prayer today and I didn't even know it would be. You continue to amaze me at the spirit you feel, listen to and follow through with.

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    3. Really!? I love hearing that! I keep learning from it too. This post didn't come from me. It poured out of me through the Spirit... and the Spirit told me to post it when I did too. I was going to wait a couple days but the Spirit was like "now" and I was like ok! haha GOod thing! THe Spirit knew others needed it!

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  7. I love this post so much! I'm glad I pointed you to Jane's post and that it helped you so much. :) It helped me a lot too. I'm glad you wrote this post. And I'm glad Jane wrote hers. And I'm glad Julie wrote hers too. This concept is new to me, but so powerful. Thank you for sharing your love and insights and journey with others. Love you Sidreis!

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    1. Thank you my dear friend. It's new to me too and now that I've been taught it I find myself comparing myself to motivate movement ALLLLLLL the time! It's hard, really hard, for me to own my feelings I'm finding!

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Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"