It may seem impossible to remain at peace even though you are suffering. Life’s circumstances are outside of our control and there is no way to avoid suffering completely. Our human instinct is to overthink things and seek answers or solutions but this generally makes things worse. Most of these situations we cannot solve with our thinking.
The practice of finding gratitude in God/Spirit/Universe and any other blessings you have is critical during these times. It is the only way to remain at peace. We must learn how to pray for guidance on where to look for our answers. We must also be patient and trusting. Our need for certainty in an uncertain situation can drive us crazy trying to figure things out too fast.
In these seasons of suffering it is important to utilize your TMS (Thought Management Strategy). You must differentiate between what is uncertain and outside of your control and the things you can take action on. We tend to worry so much about things outside of our control. Making a list and getting super clear will help disentangle your thoughts and anxiety. You can learn how to let go more. Letting go of the non-actionable items on your list will allow you more energy to handle the items that you can do something about.
Let me give you an example of from my own life. I have a sister that struggles with her mental and physical health. Her suffering has opened up many opportunities for me to balance my own peace and joy while being there for her. When she is struggling she complains, blames and projects. She also may stop taking her medication because she feels like she can live without it or that it is the reason that things aren’t right. I have no idea if her meds cause her issues or being off of them does, but she has not been stable or self-sufficient since she starting taking them. When she gets into a dark place, I start to get involved to try and help her and the kids. Unfortunately, at times it is too late and she goes into psychosis from not taking her medication. I can go from being her angel or favorite sister to her worst enemy in one day if I don’t buy into her hallucinations or physical illness.
She can go from my loving sister to a crazy person so quickly. Her brain creates the reality it needs to protect her from responsibility or consequences. Our personalities couldn’t be more opposite. My desire to grow is matched with her desire to distract. She has no goals or plans and faces the same problems over and over. It has been like this with her for over 30 years. Because she has been in and out of a volatile relationship where she can’t make up her mind, there have been times that I had to remove her from my life for up to 18 months before.
Seeing her like this causes me the most excruciating pain. The situation can become surreal overnight. My brain quickly tries to hypothesize what to do. It wants to form a solution to a problem that only God, or her own willingness to solve, can change. When these situations happen I begin to suffer because I struggle letting go. I love her unconditionally but am powerless to change her.
It will often take me a while but eventually I do let go. I prioritize my own physical and emotional health and my family over her. It is never easy and I become sad quickly. When I am in that season, using my TMS helps keep me from worry and anxiety. I know any thought or emotion that is not trusting of God (or the universe) is coming from my Little Voice. It is harder to remain present but I always give it my best effort. I know the analysis of the past or predictions about the future are not serving me. I simply thank them for trying to protect me but quickly go back to prayer.