Saturday, September 28, 2013

Letting People in on My Mourning Improves Happiness

At the beginning of our marriage, my sweetheart and I struggled. I remember wanting to talk to others about it, but didn't want to for fear that I was 'oversharing' something so personal that clearly others did not experience in their first several months of marriage. After thinking about it, I decided to let someone in my 'mourning session' and let them give advice on what I could do to improve. Their suggestions were welcome, and I came to realize that, yes, the first year of marriage is hard. I always heard it, but never really believed it. And even if I did believe, I was set on "oh, yes, but we won't be that couple." 

This experience reconfirmed my realization of how much we, as a society, are here on earth for not only our progression, but for the progression of others. Helping people progress, and allowing people to help me progress adds an extreme and rather undefined amount of happiness to my life. I have written about this before, but really must emphasize how important it is to lift one another. Now, don't misunderstand, I get that there is a balance. There comes a time when sharing turns into whining about nothing, and increases pessimistic views, which does not increase happiness. Trust me, I know. BUT I also understand that in order for someone to lift me, I have to give them the opportunity to serve me...which is a really hard thing for me to do - I have to let people in on my mourning.

As you recall, one of my Happiness Project items is to generate an understanding of behavioral issues. The behavioral issue of focus I chose was ADHD. This became important to me because there are important people in my life who have been diagnosed with this behavioral disorder (and I do hate the word disorder). I felt like if I study it, I would be able to better responder and caretaker because I UNDERSTAND it. 

I have only just begun reading the book Is it You, Me, Or Adult A.D.D? and already feel like I have learned so much. In the introductory chapters, the author discusses how important it is for the caretakers of persons with ADHD to come together and discuss their issues. The author relates a story: As the support group attendees shared their experiences, you could see the physical relief of the participants, as if they had been carrying this burden on their own the whole time. Some laughed, and some cried because they thought they were alone in this journey of living with someone who had ADHD tendencies....which, by the way, are not super pleasant.

On another note, my sweetheart and I have recently started attending a class called Financial Peace University, where we gather with fellow peers to discuss how to manage money better using tactics by Dave Ramsey. At the end of our lessons, we have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss what we learned. My sweetheart and I find this helpful as we have been trying to figure out the best way to combine our finances, pay off student loans, and live in one of the most expensive places when we really aren't earning enough to live here. 

I can't tell you how relieved we were to find that there are many other people going through similar struggles. For some reason, this is comforting. After our discussion last night, we left with a sense that we could do this - that with a little perseverance and know-how, we could conquer this huge looming THING that has almost caused us to break up twice. 

In an article entitled Reaching out to Those that Mourn, the author tells a story about when her husband was killed in an accident, and she had four young children at home. The article says, "Through my experience I also gained insight into the communication between one who mourns and one who gives comfort. As friend after friend came through the line at Russ’s viewing, too overcome to speak, all we could do was hug each other—no words were necessary. Others I didn’t know as well would simply squeeze my hand or pat my shoulder. If they spoke at all, the simple words “I’m so sorry” were all I needed to know they cared.

Then during the following weeks and even months, I often needed to talk. I found that those who helped the most were those who let me talk instead of talking to me. They didn’t tell me to feel a certain way, or to be grateful for the blessings I had. I was grateful for the many blessings I had received, but I still struggled with many emotions. I felt so much better when someone would say, “I understand that you feel that way, and that’s OK.” This allowed me to open up and experience my emotions in order to effectively deal with them."

Support groups, girls nights, mother-type figures who become my mom in town since mine lives so far away, and good friends who are willing to mourn with me in my mourning stages in life makes me grateful, and ultimately makes me happy.


Sharing life experiences with one another improves our happiness because I:
  1. Realize I am not alone, and for some reason, that is comforting
  2. Are able to experience the process of mourning and be ok with how long it takes
  3. Places me in a position to mourn with others and be there for them during their mourning stages because I have experienced it before
  4. Give others the opportunity to serve me, in which "charity is the greatest of all the gifts of God"

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Thanks for this share and for your comment on my blog. I did share with the intention of inspiring others to get help if needed. It looks like you are on a similar mission. It is good to be connected!