Having coffee recently with a close friend, she told me a story from her past of which I had little idea. She told me a sad and sorry tale about her relationship with an ex-partner. She had found out a lie that he had told and it quickly unraveled revealing that her whole life with him had been based in deception; in fact it was so bad he could end up in jail. He had created a whole life based in lies and denial which had got out of control and built to something akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa – only his construction had nothing to support it and it had fallen spectacularly.
Knowing something of her family background I asked how they had taken it. Naturally they were furious but, surprisingly, much of their anger was directed at her. When I asked why they would react in that way she explained that after the initial shock and pain the only feeling she held was gratitude to him. ‘I was devastated initially to think that I had shared my life with him for so long and it was all based in a tissue of lies. Quickly I realised that during our time together, and as a result of the outcome, I had learned an enormous amount about myself and how I face life. He had taught me all of that, so how could I not be grateful? After all, that is the Cost of Living!’
After I left her I thought about what she had said and indeed our experiences are the Cost of Living. Without challenges in our life how would we learn what resourceful and courageous people we truly are? We would never know the boundless inner strength we can access when faced with painful situations or how amazingly we pull through when life seems to throw us the curved ball. Anyone around us, who gives us a hard time, really does help us to discover our true self; our compassion, our values and our boundaries. We could even choose to consider them a gift in our life!
So when difficulties come along and we feel upset, angry, hurt, fearful or alone, let us take time to reflect on what is our personal Cost of Living. When we look past the pain we will always discover the gold in every situation. Treating the situation from a point of compassion towards ourselves and those involved helps us realise that the wisdom gained is what will carry us through to a brighter and freer future.
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