Step 1: Grieving

A.  You accept where you are by facing the reality of your situation.

Do you agree that facing reality can be like grieving? I’ve had friends grieve the loss of a friendship that went awry, the loss of love that never bloomed, the loss of a business that never took off, the loss of a dream that could not be lived.

The death of anything we hold dear to our hearts will grieve us. And just like when we suffer the loss of a loved one, we move through some fairly predictable and painful stages. If the pain weren’t great enough, we’d probably never give up our fantasies and look at the facts in the first place.

So, motivated by pain, we begin to look. And once we look, we start to again to deny that there is anything we can do or deny that the situation needs to change. But, the pain gets worse and we look once more at the reality. It doesn’t seem to be getting better and eventually we have to throw our fear aside and yield to the inevitability of change as we journey toward wholeness.

I’ve talked for hours with friends who are alternately angry and heartbroken—two common reactions of facing reality. It does make us angry when we want the dream to live and someone is keeping that from happening. Even if it’s not my situation, I get a little angry when I hear of what a friend is going through. The roller coaster of anger and sadness is predictable, unavoidable and necessary.

People tend to apologize for their anger. I’m in the habit of saying, I’d be worried about you if you weren’t angry. Usually I’m so relieved that they can feel the anger because that’s a good sign that they are going to begin to make choices. Reality has appeared. Yes!!

Then, usually just when they seem to be looking at options and thinking about the choices, the old bargaining behavior asserts. I know it’s not going to be perfect, but maybe I can just make the situation work again if I…

I know they will eventually either give up the fight for facing truth or gradually face into it.

I feed hummingbirds. It occurred to me today that my struggling friends are like those little hummers. They face into the wind which blasts them nearly off their perch as they struggle to maintain their balance. I saw that all the hummers were sitting facing the wind. Seeking the truth is a lot like that—better faced head on. When the birds get ready to fly they use the wind force to lift them up and away. They just start flapping and the wind takes them up.

The harsh blow of reality does cause grief, anger, bargaining and the desire to turn around and run. But what happens. I’ve tried fighting reality and running from reality and turning my back on it. I don’t recommend those options. By the way, a tail wind causes a crash. Yup. Better to face it.