Friday, October 18, 2013

Are You Nesting in a Dangerous Place?

We all love the idea of a nest as it's presented in this definition. A comfortable place that we can be at home. In life it may represent your comfort zone. A place where you've nestled down and plan to stay. 

But here's something I've noticed. Sometimes during a painful event or crisis we get use to emotional pain. Some people don't ever seem to be able to move on from a betrayal, divorce, or some far worse tragedy that has befallen them. The pain becomes the new comfort zone. 

They've made a nest in the hurt.

It becomes all encompassing. It is the new safe place. It's their new home. 

In reality it's a danger zone that threatens to derail them longer than necessary and perhaps for the rest of their lives. Instead of the nest being a "place of retreat" from a hectic world where they can unwind and reenergize it becomes a place of retreat from others, the hard work of recovery, and (if I can be honest) an excuse and possibly a means of manipulating others. 

On the road to recovering from whatever the calamity is we need to ask ourselves some questions: 

Are we going to be defined by this? 

Is this event the lens through which others view us? 

Are we holding on to a pain we should have gotten over because there is some payoff? 

Wouldn't it be far better to recover and then help others who are going through the same thing? 

Shouldn't healing be our goal? 

You may remember in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations a character named Miss Havisham. Left at the altar by the love of her life she had all the clocks stopped, never removed her wedding dress, and let the wedding breakfast and cake remain on the table. 

We all know less dramatic versions of this character. You can think of them now. 

It's certainly appropriate to feel all the pain and disappointment of a major life blow. A season of depression and lack of enthusiasm for much of anything is understandable and necessary. And some personality types are better equipped to deal with obstacles and recover quicker than others. 

But even in your darkest hour you should be telling yourself that as bad as it is, it is only temporary. The mental and emotional pain are part of a process. They are not your final destination. 

Unless you choose for them to be. 

When we are going through hell, Churchill reminds us to keep going. Don't stop and set up camp. Don't keep wearing that tattered wedding dress, and make sure you don't make your pain your new comfort zone.

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