Recently a friend, in a frustrated outburst towards her parent – said, “I wish he was dead!” After she said it, she immediately admitted feeling tremendous guilt for even thinking such a “dreadful” thought, much less saying it outloud. We ended up talking about the energy that drives such passionate proclamations. We realized that it may not be actual death, as much as radical change for which we are longing, even demanding, when we say these things.
It seems very likely that, more often than not, this is what a “death wish” is! – it's the sense of being tired “to death” of dealing with ourselves or a life situation that we feel powerless to change. This is not something to feel afraid or guilty about … it's simply the psyche's way of saying “somethings gotta change and I don't know how to do it!.”
We feel powerless over life whenever we find ourselves in resistance to the way things are. Most usually, the extreme frustration we are feeling is accompanied by a boat load of “shoulds”. “He shouldn't be like that”, “That shouldn't happen”, “I shouldn't feel that way” … etc.
Wherever there is a “should” there is judgment – an implication that things are not acceptable the way they are. This produces low frequency feelings and an inner demand that something be DONE about it! But what can be done about something that already is? Tension builds in the psyche between the way we tell ourselves things (or self) should be and the futility of feeling unable to make it that way. Eventually the only way out appears to be death! Even though most of us would never resort to such an act of desperate finality, we generate tremendous misery through this internal struggle.
What to do? First examine the internal “shoulds”. It is not the situation or person that needs to change in order for us to feel better, it's dropping the judgments and expectations about them that brings inner peace. Our task is to find a way to align with reality – it is what it is – and stop resisting so mightily. To clarify our responsibility – determine what is my business and what is not and then take care of what I can and accept the rest as it is. One thing that helps me is to remind myself that there is not one single person, situation or thing in my life that is anything but the way it “should” be. Peace follows when we drop the shoulds and shouldn'ts. I no longer need radical change when I am practicing an attitude of accepting life on its', rather than my terms. 🙂 Blessings, Lynne