Life is a series of events. One experience builds on another. Pretty soon, we have an unbelievable amount of memories. Those memories lead to decisions. Those decisions are often based on emotion. That emotion is learned from experience. And on and on it goes.
A fairly healthy normal person (like myself) has experiences and memories. I can deal with loss, setbacks and unpleasant things. At least I try. And I mostly succeed. But at times I get tripped up. I major in the minor. I don't win every battle in my mind.
But because not everyone is healthy (or normal) it should be no surprise that not all people respond to those same setbacks in a good way. But I have to admit – that it does surprise me. “Why can't everyone just be more like me?” Don't we all feel that way? Don't we all wish people were more like us?
I am somewhat of a risk taker. I don't mind the unfamiliar. At least most of the time. I love a good challenge. I like excitement. I often push the envelope. I sometimes live outside the box. In doing so, I regard a new situation or new relationship with enthusiasm and energy. I love helping people and have often become involved in another person's world.
This can have its own set of risks and problems. But overall – I believe that I am made the way I am – with my unique personality and passion for life – for a reason.
Of course, when one shakes hands with the unfamiliar, as I often do – the unfamiliar can either shake back or just make my life incredibly more difficult. I choose to look at it as an incredible opportunity for growth.
I have a few friends that really know the unfamiliar on a first name basis and have walked in very dark places, both emotionally and physically. The best thing that you can do with someone who is suffering loss, depression or hurt – is to let them grieve. Give them love and support and just be there. No words of wisdom – no advice. That experience for them is like shaking hands in the dark with an unseen villain while trying to balance on a tightrope. Emotional and physical setbacks are the major joy suckers, fighting the unseen and the unfamiliar.
Ah – the unfamiliar. That thing that hits all of us at our blind side. “You're really not catching me at my best”, you say – but the unfamiliar does not care – in fact, it likes it that way.
It is our reaction to the unfamiliar that remains critical. Those that have learned to “go with it” and come out of experiences relatively unscathed are not 'super heroes' with supernatural powers of their own. No, instead I would submit to you – that they are the ones who have had a great deal of eperience with the unfamiliar. They have regarded – taken inventory and counted the cost. Refusing to give in to petty fear and the great dark unknown. They have set their jaw, steeled their eyes and taken the great challenge seriously. It is these same people who do not allow many things to get them down. They are comfortable in their own skin – and they can comfort, encourage and make you feel comfortable in yours too.
As I write this I am very aware that there will be much more of the unfamiliar. It shows up at our house quite often. But we are ready for it. Maybe even today.