The roots of despair, and how to overcome it
We Run from Despair, But Can Never Really Get Away from ItHave you ever experienced real despair in your life? I have, more than I would have ever thought or expected I would experience or withstand. Many say these are despairing times; and now more than ever, it seems, a lot of the clients who come to me for help, come in a state of hovering or exploding despair.
What are the roots of despair, and how can we overcome it? The fundamental root of despair is hopelessness.
Despair can be a Catalyst for DiseaseWe run from despair, I think, most of all to try to escape what we believe we will experience if we allow ourselves to face hopelessness, which is powerlessness.
Despair runs right after us, as does hopelessness. If we're not able to come to terms with it, it fuels dis-ease, especially addiction, passive-aggressive behavior, defensiveness, denial, and destroyed self-esteem.Despair is a Normal Part of Grief
Despair is part of our emotional field, which means it is part of how we respond to life's experiences. Despair is typically part of how we feel in undergoing serious crises.
It tells us that in that experience, we are feeling completely overwhelmed and helpless to respond in any way that we believe can bring good resolution. It emerges through what Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, identifying normal stages of grief, called the fourth, or second-last stage - helplessness/hopelessness.
Find the Courage to Admit How You FeelWhen we feel despair, we feel all is lost and there is no way out. In our culture we are fundamentally conditioned to believe that despair, then, is a signal that our life is fully threatened, and we won't survive.
The first requirement to overcome despair is to find the courage to acknowledge to yourself that you feel it. To be willing to be honest provides the courage to admit where you are in your heart of hearts.
You Can Now Find Your Way to Real ResolutionWhen this occurs, there is a surprising sense that may be buried in the midst of many other understandable emotions of relief. The inner running (and all it's accompanying outer manifestations in your life), avoidance and denial stops. You have freed your core energy to surround and support you.
This can and does typically open many amazing doors of insight and sources of support for you, both within yourself and in many parts of your life. It is part of the fifth and final stage of grief, acceptance - the place where resolution can and does occur.
Seven Key Steps to Overcome DespairHere are the steps I've identified to overcome despair:
- Face the full depth of your feeling - Do some meditating and journaling to support this tremendous self-healing process without demanding that you solve the problem - let it be.
- Be patient – this allows your intuition to guide you to what are your best next steps - Full emotional expression is the only way we can go deeper to access the power of our intuition and indomitable and miraculous spirit. Face this core challenge to trust yourself beyond what you can connect to as perceived sources of personal power.
- Be willing to ask for help - This demonstrates to your heart and mind that you are not alone, which cracks an outgrowth of despair and greatly empowers us.
- Be willing to accept resolution, in any form - This is a challenge to commit without condition, which necessarily destroys your wounded and threatened ego from inserting its faulty beliefs as its only required solution to a crisis. the universe, speaking of what really is required, will only respond to miraculously support you in kind when you have completed this step.
- Act on your gut feelings, don’t act out of fear of them! Have the guts to honestly and objectively face what you know, in your heart of hearts, you need to face about yourself and your actions, as well as your real potential to change and respond as needed - Neal Donald Walsh in his book, "Conversations with God" (http://www.nealedonaldwalsch.com/) boldly said that God doesn't care what we do, which is meant to free us to take proper action from a simple and fundamental place of identifying what is needed and doing our capable best to respond accordingly.
- Pray for help, support, insight, and guidance: Pray for all the help you need, in the way that is acceptable to you, both spiritually and psychologically. Pray every day and let go, affirming your willingness to be open, understanding praying brings clarity and spiritual power.
- Take care of yourself through an awareness of your own inner rhythms and with the willingness to honor and support them - Nothing else more fundamentally recovers and fuels self-esteem. Know you are and must be worth it at the core of your being.
What really counts about despair is the healing it makes possible
Life has a way of going on and on through its own larger and indestructible force whether we like it in its unfolding moments or not. I leave you with that thought through the common saying, this too shall pass, which brings me to close in asking you to consider instead in the great play of your life if all that really counts about despair is the catalytic and critical healing and development that comes through it to make you be better and greater than you were before; and therefore more able to be present and offer to yourself and the world as true service in these despairing times.