“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. Those persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~ Elizabeth Kubler Ross
Life isn’t always easy. In fact, some of the most powerful and transformative moments of our lives often come wrapped in the form of pain, struggle, and defeat. It is often in these times of the most strenuous of our circumstances that we ask, “why me?”
For many who have been on a spiritual or self-improvement/awareness journey, we often believe that we should be immune to feeling any sort of pain or negative emotions. We think with all of our new found wisdom and higher perspective on life that we, if anyone, should be the ones who are strong enough to handle any of life’s circumstances.
So why is it, that it is often the wisest of souls who have to come face to face with the darkest of days? Shouldn’t all of our spiritual knowledge and broader perspectives on life somehow prepare us to deal with anything from grief, to depression, to loneliness, to frustration? Shouldn’t the fact that we are more in touch with our conscious awareness and the fact that we meditate, do energy work and expand our minds constantly somehow ensure that we will just feel good all the time? Not exactly.
What life experience would be complete without the FULL range of human emotion? Who can know true happiness without first experiencing sadness? Who can know gratitude unless one has felt what it is like to be miserable? Instead of resisting pain and defeat as if we shouldn’t have to deal with it, what if we instead allow it to completely overtake us? What if pain has only come to take from us everything we are NOT?
In a complete surrender of ourselves and who we perceived ourselves to be to grief, tragedy, and emotional pain we allow life to strip from us every last shred of egoic attachments that we were hanging on to. When life strips us of everything we thought we were, or owned (whether it be physically or mentally), only one thing can emerge… our most authentic being. Only when we are stripped of everything we are not, are we able to see exactly what we are.
“You may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou
The soul who has known the most failure, hardship and defeat is often the soul who carries the most courage, strength and faith. When life has taken from us everything we thought we needed or thought we “should have,” in order to be happy, we are only left with our faith in the fact that there is a reason for everything that happens, and even though we may not be able to see that reason right away, it exists.
And the reason for it’s existence is always making us into a better version of our former selves. The hero of a movie only becomes the hero because he/she has overcome some level of adversity. And although our ego will tell us to keep fighting and resisting, a complete acceptance of the most dire of situations and terrible of human emotions actually becomes not only the easiest way to get through life but in the complete allowance of ourselves to be defeated by everything that threatens our being, we are more quickly able to transcend the emotions themselves.
Only when an emotion has been fully accepted and honored can it be allowed to leave our present reality. Pain can only be there to show us where we are still holding on to some idea or belief about life that is limiting in nature. And when these beliefs have been confronted and negated, the painful emotions have nothing else to teach us, and at this point they are able to be transcended.
When we realize that the ultimate “truth” of the universe is love, anything that is perceived as not love can only have arrived in our external reality to take from us yet another aspect of the illusory “sense of self” that not only are we attached to, but is in fact holding us back from achieving that state of happiness, bliss and inner peace that often was the motivation for us beginning our spiritual and self-awareness journey in the first place.
The sooner we invite pain and loss in and welcome it with open arms the sooner we are transformed into our truest form. Yes, we can always try to fight back with life. We can sit and worry and stress and be angry that things are not going exactly like we wanted them to, or be miserable and angry that whatever plan we had of how our life was supposed to be is not exactly how it is going, or we can surrender.
Accept, surrender, and even be grateful that if challenges or tragedy or heartbreak has shown up in our lives it can only be indicative that we are about to be transformed into something better once again. Another layer of our being is about to be peeled away which is allowing more of our conscious awareness to emerge in it’s place.
Anytime life has come to take from us yet another layer of our ego we can be assured that a major blessing is just bubbling under the surface. Whether that blessing be a beautiful humility that can only come from a soul who has known pain, or even just highlighting for us where we are holding on to something, someone, or some belief that is keeping joy, love and peace OUT of our reality.
“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.” ~ Henry Kissinger
What we often forget is that we already are everything that we desire to be. The only thing keeping us from realizing this are limited belief systems and ego-based attachments. It is often those attachments with which we have the strongest hold on that are the most painful to lose. But that’s the point. The hardest of hardships and the most painful of defeats are the ones that carry with them the amazing of gifts. If life has picked you to endure the greatest of pressures, rest assured that it is only because you are being primed and prepped to become the rarest and shiniest of diamonds. Shine on.