By Glyndora Condon MS MFT NCC LPC
It does not take too long before we become aware that life if full of ups and downs. Most of us attempt to escape the down periods of time since these are negative and often painful. These times can be: Relational (friends, mates, children, parents), Behavioral (getting harmed physically, enduring aggression that harms our material belongings), Emotional (feelings of fear, frustration, irritation, anger, anxiety and other), Mental (cognitive disorders and challenges), Physical (health, losses of tangible items, damage to possessions, harm to our bodies, violation of safe proximity), Financial (losses of income or debt that is difficult to manage), Spiritual (Feeling abandoned, lost, guilty, alone, or confused as to matters of spirituality), and/or Governmental (taxes, rights, property, leadership, protection, and like), as well as, Environmental (where we live, work, play), as well as; Social (family, friends, enemies, vocation, education). When one or more of the above issues are under attack or lacking; then we find ourselves in a valley. We do not like being in the valley.
It is not uncommon for us to go into fight or flight when thrusted into this dark place. Impulse control is hardly manageable. We run to and from or around in circles trying to find an escape and often opt almost any escape regardless of the risks. Due to these bad choices then we find ourselves tossed from one valley into another and sometimes, find ourselves in worse situations than we were in prior. Some wonder around, repeating the same patterns as they find themselves in a rut, and lose track of the way out. This way out often requires a person to face their thoughts and choices-which seems too painful to endure. Facing truth means that we need to be vulnerable, and that is too frightening.
Facing truth means we have to be truth to others and this takes courage since we can imagine many awful scenarios as to what they will do when they learn who we truly are. At times, we deny our condition and blame others. Yet, we want out of this valley and curse it’s existence. Why would anyone who claims to love us-let us go here? Honestly, could others have stopped us? Didn’t others try to stop us? If we are Christian, then didn’t God warn us that our choices would lead to temptation and consequences?
To get out of the valley, each person must learn what they need to learn and then face truth. It is a humbling experience as we remove a mask and drop the defense mechanisms. With each step then we find it easier to speak and to live truth while we walk more into the light and begin to climb up the steep cliffs that we forged for ourselves as we made bad choices. What about those who find themselves in a valley such as illness, a catastrophe, or other? These things do occur, and at first; we are in a crisis mode following shock. However, we can begin to view the situation from a perspective that can begin to cycle us into negativity or we can choose to find meaning and grow from the experience.
Life has ups and downs. Sometimes those downs are almost impossible to navigate through and if we are not careful, we can get stuck as we try to escape the truth and consequence. We help to teach those who come to us how to ride this storm and to climb those walls.