When You Are Hurting, Remember Why You Want To Live, And Live For That



Self-Care Tip #133 – When you are hurting, remember why you want to live, and live more purposefully for that.

My daughter has a viral upper respiratory infection.  She is laying on the floor in her sleeping bag that has the stuffed puppy dog head for a pillow.  She just wants to be near me today while I work.  She wakes up and coughs, I check her out and dose her if she’s febrile.  She goes back to sleep.  Awakens.  Trundles up to drink some mango juice, water, eat 3 noodles, comes down again and lays there, pink in the cheeks, red eyes and chafed upper lip.

Sometimes when one of the kids is sick they stay home if I’m here.  It usually stresses me out but I’ve been getting better at believing more that we can take what comes and still get the work done.  Today, in-between patients, I laid down beside her.  Face-to-face.  She leaned in, opened her eyes and smiled!

She is one of the most delicately framed little people I know.  My nuclear family has never had small bones so this must be from someone on my husband’s side.  My daughter swung that tiny arm, warm with fever over my neck, put her face on mine, and fell asleep.

Lying there, thinking I’m so glad I could do this for her, suddenly felt wrong.  It flip-flopped over in my mind and I realized that I was glad.  But for me.

Having her near me while I work is a connecting force.  To both of us but maybe more for me.  My family has been exchanging this virus for 2 weeks now.  It hasn’t been hell but it has not been a delight.  Yet here I find myself delighted.  I wonder how long I’m going carry this gladness around.

Come what may in this world, it is these surprising moments that convince us about the rest.

In psychiatry, I’m required to ask each patient if they have thoughts of wanting to die.  Then I ask, “What do you want to live for?”  That catches some people off guard and I’ve gotten looks that could defend anyone in war.  But we aren’t at war and eventually they tell me why they want to stay alive another day.

At some level we all answer that question even if indirectly.  Everyone suffers.  If I were asked, my daughter’s smile would be on my list.

I am often amazed by good things that come out of bad.  Knowing that, gives hope.  But it also gives purpose and we can choose to angle ourselves more purposefully towards that rather than passively.  We can choose to live for the reasons we think worth living for.

My husband prays, “God please turn my posture toward you today.”  I’ve always loved that.

Question:  Why do you want to stay alive?  What are you living for?  Please tell me your story.

25 thoughts on “When You Are Hurting, Remember Why You Want To Live, And Live For That

  1. First of all, thank you for visiting my page and leaving a comment! Second of all, you bring up a very good point.. sometimes I forget WHY I want to live! I want to live to feel happiness, share my love, see my daughter grow old and become old myself. I honestly want to extend the journey although sometimes the quick shortcut out only appears as a viable choice.

  2. i often question that question quite frequently i tihnk the reason i stay alive is because i want to plus i might not like death and also the bible condones death by suiside so i fear that even thou im not a bible basher

    • “i might not like death.” made sense and not talked about often.
      in regards to faith and choices of belief, I remember C.S. Lewis, when he was struggling through atheism said something to the effect that of the options available, there is a God or there isn’t, either way his life was improved by believing that there is God. It was a start for him. Thank u for commenting Kevin! keep on.

  3. I love the fact that you realized that being able to be there WITH, as well as for, your daughter made you glad. Several times, when my girls were young and, now, with my granddaughter, I have felt the same way – and then felt guilty – when I was holding a normally super mobile little hot body and it felt so good to have her just lay in my arms and let me rock her that I, for just a moment, wished it could last a lot longer.

    When I was at my lowest, I wanted to die many times, and my husband one wonderful night, gave up and said, “Alright. Tell me what you need to commit suicide and I’ll get it for you, but, while I’m doing that for you, you have to agree to call the kids and explain to them what you are about to do.” God bless my husband. And God bless my children, who, along with my husband, made me want to live. And at that time I didn’t have a precious granddaughter. Thinking about missing out on her…well, I can’t even imagine!

  4. I am afraid to think about the reason for living… simply because it feels dangerous to treat life as if it is an option.

    But if I did have to give a reason, the main reason for living is so I can be a better person than I was yesterday.

  5. Having been in that place before, I can agree with you completely. Sometimes life is hard! But it is so worth it once you get through it. Once upon a time, I really felt like I did not want to go on. Now, it is 25 years later, I have grown children, new grandchildren, some children still at home. When I think of all I would have missed, I can’t believe that I ever felt that badly. That old adage, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on” is so true. I learned so much from the bad times. They gave me what I needed to be strong, to grow, and to become who I am today. For that, I will always be grateful.

  6. This is a great blog, thank you for stopping by mine so that I could find my way here. Very inspirational! Definitely something we all need to be reminded of in times of pain and even in times of joy.

  7. I love this post, Sana. I learned long ago that we’re blessed with the ability to take ownership of our happiness. We can claim so much for ourselves if we’re willing to seek it out.

    I hope you’re sweet daughter is feeling much better today. You’re a wonderful writer! I look forward to reading more!

    • Hello! Thank you for reading and commenting w such grace! Daughter is better! whew! back to school today in fact. (sighs of relief… as i couldn’t have her at the clinic i went to today!)
      “ownership of our happiness” – wonderfully said.
      come again please.
      keep on!

  8. Pingback: Psyche’s Flashlight #1 – December 27, 2010 « High School Confidential

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