It may be Easter time, but for me, eggs and baskets don’t necessarily refer to the time-honored holiday festivities for the amusement of children. I’m here to warn you about the eggs — and the basket — that represent your life.
There are things and people you need to commit to in order to have stability and a steady flow of benefits and good feelings — commitments to your spouse and your children, commitments to those in frank and sincere need, commitments to your work, commitments to friendships, commitments to hobbies, and commitments to learning.
But the fact remains that, in a world filled with envy, greed, backstabbing, stupidity, bad choices, illness, injuries, the deficits of aging, and the good intentions of friends that slide you into a hell — finding pleasure in life can be a huge challenge.
It can be a lot easier to slip into depression or angry resentment, feelings that can spill out even to the quality people and things in your life.
Some people seem immune to these outrageous fortunes, and maybe many are.
Other times, we just don’t know what is going on behind closed doors and pursed lips. Nonetheless, when it happens to you, you may find yourself wanting either to lash out or turn it all inward and not eat or talk to anyone. You may even find yourself doing things that can hurt yourself, or your situation.
All of this is understandable. It’s logical to try to regain control when it is clear that you really don’t have any over circumstances that are ripping out your heart.
I’m convinced that certain accidental overdoses and car accidents are the result of people feeling so imposed upon by ugly fate that they turn their pain and rage inward in a desperate attempt to feel less like a helpless victim.
If you know someone in this condition, please don’t try to use logic (“Things will change, they always do”) or guilt (“You have so much; how dare you not appreciate your blessings?”). These techniques only add to the pain. They get you no closer to a sense of understanding, a sense that you realize that person’s world is imploding.
The best thing to do for people in this place is to make gentle physical contact (as in head stroking or arm holding), or share tea or coffee, and acknowledge the truth: They have been treated very unfairly. Tell them they’re right, and it is outrageous. And then just be there quietly.
Many people are afraid to acknowledge the reality because they worry that the truth will just make it worse.
The truth relieves the suffering individuals of the necessity of arguing or trying to get you to understand what they’re going through. Arguing escalates their desperately black feelings, not the truth!
Don’t ask a lot of questions about details. Just agree that the situation right now is bad.
Just be there.
After a while, we get to the eggs and the basket. Consider one’s life like a basket, filled with eggs of activities, hopes, desires, trusted people, etc.
When one of these eggs breaks, it oozes all over all the other valued eggs and seeps through the reeds of the basket. It is never useful simply to point out all the other eggs; they’ve been gooped up, too. That’s how the depressed person sees it.
Ultimately, you might suggest cleaning off the other eggs, transferring some out of the basket, and letting new ones in. Life works better when you “mix it up.”
Balance is never truly “restored” — balance eventually is re-created out of myriad different components.
Give that person (or yourself) time to get to that place.
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