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There are times in the lives of each of us when a perfect storm occurs which affects our emotional selves. All it takes is a series of losses occurring about the same time, or an accumulation of a life-time of negative events or traumas where another event tips the balance to create a whirlwind of destruction within.

In many instances, the perfect storm comes when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable, physically. It especially occurs when we have spent years being proud of our strength, or we have made it an important part of our value system to be self-sufficient and powerful. We can find ourselves, in the midst of our weaknesses, experiencing helplessness and rage over who we perceive we have become.

Our muscles and bones weaken as the years go by. Chronic illnesses can take away our sense of power, our energy, our resources, and interfere with our abilities to be self-sufficient. They steal from us a part of who we identified ourselves as being. We often see ourselves as shells of who we use to be. Sometimes, in relationships, we experience anger and frustration from others, because we need care and the role reversal can be difficult to come to terms with. Loved ones often deny anything has changed in the relationship, or they refuse to accept reality and fight us when we are struggling to just get through another day.

Perfect storms can happen when losses become overwhelming, and we struggle to keep our feet on the ground while our spiritual and emotional parts inside us are whirling from the violent winds in life. All the things we once relied upon to give us a sense of stability, a sense of rightness have vanished.

Our faith in God can feel shaken to its core, as we struggle with questions that have no answers. We often feel anger toward God whom we believe betrayed us. Platitudes from others, whose lives are going well, do not help. They end up making us feel like a failure. We, at times, feel self-contempt and shame.

Betrayals in relationships can bring forth the worst storms, for they entail vulnerability, remembered joy, broken promises, and loss of hope. We have wounds, deep wounds, which float to the surface and knock us flat on our backs. Pain burns through all layers of our bodies, and our emotional and spiritual selves. Our minds hunger for peace and our hearts search for comfort.

In order to survive the storms of life, we need to see and believe an end will come. Storms build, release, and die down. We also have to hurt bad enough to want to get out of the storm to a place of safety and peace. Something in us must respond in order for us to get beyond the storm. We need to be willing to grab the hand that reaches out to us, and ask for help when we see our strength is not enough.

When the storm is over, we must grieve what is gone, and come to accept the need to build again a new foundation with new skills and tools. We must learn to have more compassion for ourselves as human beings with weaknesses and find a new way to communicate with something bigger than ourselves. Kindness from others will work wonders in us. Developing courage within is necessary for building a future we can look forward to. Most of all, we need to learn to care for ourselves as much as we care for others. It is not easy to survive a perfect storm.

Yu/stan/kema

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