Why We Need To Smile In Our Darkest Moments

 Eli DeFaria
Eli DeFaria

I used to worry that I was broken… that I wasn’t a “super sensitive empath” anymore. When people would talk about their deepest, most painfully dark chapters or experiences, I couldn’t cry. I used to cry, but in the last few years that natural empathic response to cry with them had disappeared.

But, no… I wasn’t broken.

You see, something else started happening as I listened to heartbreaking moments and tales of worlds falling apart at the seams. People in tears. People who are completely deflated. People who are on the verge of giving up and giving in to the fear or failure or struggle.

I become completely overwhelmed with love. My heart swells with excitement. An immense pocket of space opens inside of me. There’s pure joy down to my bones. And I simply can’t help but desire to smile.

Basically a super inappropriate response to what I’m hearing. And yet, perfectly aligned with the truth of those awful moments.

It’s not because I’m insensitive… I’ve tried to leave this world at my own hand. I’ve slammed hard into rock bottom more times than I can count. I’ve walked through the kind of grief that cracks you clean in two and turns you inside out. I’ve been taken out at the knees by life and love and loss. I’ve failed spectacularly. And I’ve watched, more than once, as my entire world came to a crashing halt.

What I’ve come to learn is that in our darkest, hardest, most painfully heartbreaking moments, we’re the closest to truth and source and purpose. These are the most powerful and beautiful moments of our lives. They’re the catalyst for creating an amazing, impactful, awe-inspiring life, career, love, and experience. They are everything.

There is wisdom within our wounds. Purpose within our pain.

As awful and frustrating as it is, everything happens as it’s meant to. Everyone plays the role they’re meant to play, no matter how ugly or hurtful or upsetting. Every experience is meant to shape us into who we’re here to be, no matter how awful or painful or intense. And every fall and failure and spectacular misstep is meant to guide us to our true path, no matter how ridiculous or overwhelming or uprooting.

And yes, sometimes that really, really sucks. For us. For the ones we love. For the world around us. I’m not denying that really terrible things happen. I have lived through really terrible things happening.

I’m simply saying that those really terrible things shaped me into a person who is fierce and passionate and full of a joy and love that is truly unshakable. They’ve taught me gratitude and presence. They’ve guided me to the most beautiful souls and communities and mentors. And they’ve clarified my calling in a way that nothing else could have.

So, yes. When people talk about their deepest, most painfully dark chapters or experiences, I can’t help but want to smile. Because, oh baby — if we choose it with every cell in our being — this is the powerful, beautiful, painful moment right before things become amazing.

Right before everything falls into place in ways you never could envision before. Right before your soul tribe shows up. Right before your purpose is made painfully and powerfully clear to you.

I know this might not be all that helpful.

Not when you’re deep in the depths of some of the most awful experiences of your life. Not when you haven’t found a sense of trust and faith that you can call your own, because you’re still walking through the darkness and the challenges and it’s hard to “see the light.”

I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned to be true.

Because I walked through a hell I’d never wish on anyone this last year and a half, and me, my life, and my work is unquestionably better for it. And you know what? That sucks. It took the most awful kind of loss to crack me open so that I can stand where I stand today.

So while I can experience immense gratitude for all that exists in my life, my relationships, and my work today… it’s the kind of gratitude you can never fully wrap your heart around. And that’s okay. That’s life.

While you may not know or understand what it means to have the kind of trust and faith that carries you through the darkness, you can choose to lean into it, just a little bit today. You can choose to open to the possibility that there’s a reason this is happening, and that reason will soon be revealed. Trust and faith take time to cultivate, but we can always make the choice to give it our best. No matter what’s happening around us. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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