November 30th, 2011
Have you seen the movie “Like Crazy” – a film about two young lovers who keep attempting to have a relationship with each other, even when it seems in vain? It’s not an unusual story. In fact, the couple’s experience is very human. As a therapist, I found some very useful lessons in it. But first: Spoiler alter! Don’t read on if you don’t want to know the storyline…
In the movie, this couple falls in love, but then experiences a series of events which makes it seem clear that an enduring relationship will not happen. They both go through intense periods of sadness, mourning, and grief – remembering the good times when they feel down. While in these periods, they are tempted to call each other…and they do. Attempting to rekindle the relationship, they again are reminded of why they can’t be together. This results in another level of sadness and grief until, it seems to me, they finally accept that they cannot be a couple.
What a very human experience this is. Sometimes tolerating our difficult emotions seems impossible. We do what we can to not experience them. Sometimes we reach out to our ex-lover, other times we indulge in alcohol, shopping, sex, or other activities. Anything to avoid reality and emotion.
Avoiding emotions isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we need to do things over and over before we can accept what life is offering. The problem with this is that we can end up feeling “stuck.” However, “stuckness” can be a sign that we might benefit from sitting with and honoring our emotions, rather than avoiding them.
How can you do this? There are many ways – from walking in the woods, meditating or practicing yoga, calling a dear friend, to speaking with a therapist or counselor. Therapy is particularly helpful when feeling stuck. Not only can you feel what you need to feel, but you can learn to accept life “on life’s terms.” While not easy, it is certainly a path to freedom.
If you’re looking for a therapist in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, feel free to contact me, Mike Giordano, at email@example.com or 202/460-6384.