Sadness, pain and loss are a part of everyone’s life. We all experience loss, not only in the form of losing loved ones to things like death or relational brokenness, but also in myriads of other big and little losses throughout daily life. Loss is a form of disappointment–the experience of having expected or hoped for one thing, and instead experiencing something much less desirable. How we respond to the daily (and seemingly “little” disappointments) sets the stage for how we will respond to our sadness about much more noticeable losses.
Posts with an Intended Audience of ‘General’
July 8, 2016 by Sean Slevin — Intended Audience: General
This is Part 4 of 4 in the series Forgiveness: One of the Hardest (And Most Important) Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Our Relationships.
Forgiveness (and the underlying grieving required) is one of the hardest (and most important) things we can aspire to do, in part because of how it touches so many vulnerable places within us. Whether a relational infraction is little or big, the work of forgiveness (of working through our pain) is the same: We have to learn how to let our self matter, without trying to make the other person matter less. This distinction is both a hallmark of real forgiveness and a necessary prerequisite to reconciliation. In essence, we cannot healthily move towards reconciliation until we have worked through (or at least begun working through) the pain and grief of forgiveness.
This is Part 3 of 4 in the series Forgiveness: One of the Hardest (And Most Important) Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Our Relationships.
Stepping into our grief and engaging our pain is very challenging (though incredibly rewarding) work. Given how scary this work can be (especially if we don’t have people in our life walking with us through it) it should come as no surprise that we are prone to developing all sorts of unhealthy coping strategies in an effort to survive without having to do the actual work of facing our pain.
This is Part 2 of 4 in the series Forgiveness: One of the Hardest (And Most Important) Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Our Relationships.
Forgiveness necessitates our remembering and grieving our pain. Fortunately, this remembering is not contingent on our remembering perfectly. To put it differently: In order to forgive we must grieve what we experienced, letting our pain matter to us, even though we know that our memory is imperfect.
This is Part 1 of 4 in the series Forgiveness: One of the Hardest (And Most Important) Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Our Relationships.
A common (and mistaken) approach to forgiveness is to “forgive and forget.” This is problematic for a number of reasons, the most fundamental being that real, healing forgiveness requires that we remember. And embedded in this truth is one of the reasons that I believe God calls Christians to forgive.
March 23, 2015 by Sean Slevin — Intended Audience: General
This is Part 3 of 3 in the series Love Talk Film Festival, Expert Panel (2015).
Growing up in a broken world, we each can have places inside of us that we can be afraid to go. This stems from repeated experiences of not having the resources (within ourself, and/or in our closest relationships) to grapple with certain emotions. When we encounter various forms of pain in life, and we aren’t able to healthily work through the emotions accompanying those experiences, then those emotions get stuck within us. And they stay in that stuck state, festering, until we encounter a relational context that can help us build the emotional muscles that we’re lacking.
Occasionally local news agencies will contact me (as well as other counselors, I’m sure) for my opinion on some mental health topic related to whatever news item they’re working on at the time. Observing the results of this is one of many life experiences that remind me that communication is imperfect, and that we are all misunderstood at times.
I believe that we were created for healthy, peaceful relationships and this is foundational to my having great hope for our capacity to grow, change and heal. Regardless of one’s spirituality, religion or faith, I think that many of us sense on an intuitive level, deep in our gut, that humanity was meant for better things than the brokenness which we all observe and experience.
January 1, 2013 by Sean Slevin — Intended Audience: General
The beginning of the New Year can be both a time of reflecting on the past year as well as looking ahead and setting goals for the future. Often this involves making New Year’s Resolutions. This may be in part because the holidays, though they can be joyous at times, are always more imperfect than we would wish (e.g., last-minute rushing/preparing, tensions with family members, lower physical wellness regarding food, exercise and sleep). Culturally we have the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions with some intensity (“I’m really going to stick with it this time!”). But with that there is also a cultural joke about how seldom we stick with these resolutions long-term. Perhaps we need a different way of thinking about them.
October 25, 2012 by Sean Slevin — Intended Audience: General
I recently had the pleasure of watching Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and was reflecting afterwards on how some of the themes (especially of finding oneself or becoming more oneself, and the strength that comes from such growth) relate to the counseling that I enjoy (both as a counselor, in helping others walk out their journey, and in my own counseling as a client walking out my growth journey).