From Out of the Dark of the Night

I have often supported people who are going through the really tough times in life – marriage breakdowns, finding out about a partner’s affairs, dealing with conflict or bullying in the workplace, diagnosis of serious illness – the life-changing events that make your emotional anchor come loose. In the midst of trying [...]

I have often supported people who are going through the really tough times in life – marriage breakdowns, finding out about a partner’s affairs, dealing with conflict or bullying in the workplace, diagnosis of serious illness – the life-changing events that make your emotional anchor come loose.

In the midst of trying to make sense of their situation and find a route out, people are also struggling with incredible stress, sleeplessness, anxiety, as well as the most powerful emotions – anger, deep sadness, and a sense of betrayal. It is very hard to offer any hope to people who are immersed in such blackness and despondency. This could be the worst situation they have faced so far in life, so they have no recognition that there will eventually be something positive that develops out of the devastation. They have no sense of comfort of a brighter future.

This recognition and comfort comes only once you have been through such a terrible event – because you learn that you can survive and rebuild your life. And if you can go through such an event and see that the world moves on and good things come along afterwards, then that is the comfort you hold inside you in future times when things go wrong.

But when you’re in deep for the first time, there is no such point of reference.

Most people identify that they want to make it through (only the clinically depressed feel differently and they need the services of their local mental health team, not a coach). Most people have a sense that this wrong that has been done to them will be overcome, and their sense of pride and belief that they have acted honourably may be all that is keeping them going.

I give these people a copy of my favourite poem. It offers reassurance and re-affirms peoples’ sense of purpose and pride far more eloquently than I can.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Article by Pauline McKittrick, of ReallyGoodLife
www.reallygoodlife.org

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