Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lesson #38: This Too Will Pass

When I was young it seemed every painful emotion would last forever.  Hurt, rejection, anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, rage, even boredom, all felt like they would stay with me for an eternity.  I never conceived that difficult feelings would pass, and as an adult they would pass faster.

I wish I had known at twenty-years-old that emotions would get so much easier. That even the most painful feeling of shock and grief is temporary, and will settle into something else.  I wish I had known that deep hurt is what transforms us into sensitive compassionate individuals.  I wish I had known that pain wouldn't always consume so much of my energy.

This lesson is nearly impossible to meaningfully explain to someone young who hasn't yet had this range of experience.  Even if someone had told me this when I was twenty, I probably would not have believed them because I had little personal evidence to back it up.  I am able to see today that I'm not just getting older, I'm getting healthier because I know experientially that every feeling is temporary.  Truly knowing that, I have no need to cling on to the good times, no need to avoid the bad times, no need to fear painful emotions.  They all will pass.  This is why getting older offers a degree of freedom that I have never known before.

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to addiction, bullying, caretaking fatigue, grief and loss, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression, as well as couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To have him speak with your group, or to schedule a counseling visit, call 347-227-7707, or email at

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