Dr. Atul Gawande's Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End provides healthy doses of reality - the realities of disease, deterioration, debilitation, decline, dementia, dependence, despondency, and demise.
My friend Kendrick calls us "guerilla grandmothers." As a White person, and as I inch up towards age 60, I have definitely shifted how I engage in public response to racial profiling, police brutality and lack of accountability in Ferguson, Staten Island, and my hometown of Minneapolis.
There wasn't one person who graced that stage who didn't, at one time or another, think, "This is too much. I can't handle it." And everyone who has come around the bend of that stress-induced despair didn't do it by beating stress or "winning," but by changing their mindset.
While it is natural to reflect on upsetting experiences, brooding involves replaying the same scenes in your mind and reliving the emotional distress you felt at the time. Once you are in the habit of ruminating, the urge to brood can be easy to trigger and difficult to ignore.
While you certainly don't have to pretend that everything is roses, I suggest trying to identify things about yourself, about dating, or about your life that you do like, in order to help you reframe your mindset.
We can learn that helplessness isn't inherently a trauma. We are each born into it, and someday each will return to it, but it's a natural state of living and being alive. Do we approach helplessness as the infant?
In taking a leavened, eyes-open view of our controlling emotion, we see through it and experience the curious and novel landscape beyond that of incapacity. When we honor its transparency, and accept it for what it is, helplessness is transformed into helpfulness.
Haitians have a famous saying about shame and anger; my mother says it all the time when talking about someone who hides behind a wall of anger because they are ashamed of their own behavior but won't or don't know how to admit it. Li fe la wont sevi kole.
How do you light up the world? How do you bring light to another person's life? Each of us has the power to make the world a little bit brighter. Each of us can choose to shine our own light, transforming the darkness one flicker at a time.
A lisp can undo the most eloquent speaker, and bad spelling can drain the charge from the most electric writing, and saying f*** all the time makes you easy to dismiss. It's a shame a kind heart these days isn't close to enough.
We always have the right to feel whatever we feel. We also have the right to express anger when we feel hurt or betrayed. However, the real question is not whether you have the right, but whether or not your anger is working for you.
Don't learn to be helpless. Instead, open yourself up. You might not realize it, but the change you are looking for might be within your power to create. In the darkest of places, at the darkest of times, the sunshine we are all waiting for might actually come from within.