Move toward Pain. It's a good thing.
Updated: Jun 19, 2019
Wesley from The Princess Bride said, “Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says otherwise is selling you something “
I love this old movie with the beautiful Buttercup, the famous line "You killed my father prepare to die!"The ROUS's-the rats of unusual size, the "Thuthilian", the "half dead" and the "Mawage" ceremony at the end. SO fun.
But this Wesley quote is only 50% true. Life is pain and suffering and it's also glorious and loving. And that's how it's supposed to be.
I was having a discussion with my friend who was in struggle mode about how to help her YSA son. He's not doing well in school and he has no money and he can't find a job etc.... she was trying to decide to let him figure it out, or to rescue him. (This is when the Wesley quote came to mind.)
We don't like being in pain and we especially don't like watching our children be in pain. Why? Because we don't like the painful-struggle-feeling, we don't want our children to feel it either.
We are afraid of pain. We run from it and run towards the easy way out. The proverbial "easy button" that we all wish was real. But we were made for pain. This journey of life is to feel all the feelings not to use the easy button way out.
We think our job description as parents is to point our children away from the struggle, to protect them, to fix things for them. But that’s incorrect. Our job as parents is not to protect our children from pain but to point them into pain and tell them that they can do it! That they’re up for it! To be their cheerleader and shoulder to cry on, not their rescuer. Our job is to be there for them while they go through it and encourage them and remind them how beautiful the learning after the struggle can be. To tell them that life is awesome and sometimes painful and they will come out the other side of their struggle more resilient.
What about when a friend goes through a job loss, death of a spouse, defiant child? How do we help? The best job description I've seen of a friend is to just to be there and that’s it. Being a friend is to witness the joy and the pain. To remind them that grief is awesome and beautiful and holy because it means you loved so deeply that you get to grieve that person. That heartbreak and loss is not something to be avoided, it’s part of a refining process.
Author Glennon Doyle writes, "Your pain is your professor. There is no resurrection except after the crucifixion."
I know there are two parts of my Brain- The lower brain is saying look this is wrong, everything’s wrong, there’s something wrong with me, there's something wrong with my child, and the upper brain.-the awareness brain- needs to be able to swoop in and say, “Yeah you know what, we’re all going to be OK. Life is 50-50.”
Step back and look at your life and your children's lives with curiosity and compassion.
Pain--we can do it!
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