Brave vs. Selfish
When someone ends his/her own life because they are facing a great amount of physical suffering, we totally get it. We are compassionate. Many of us say to ourselves, “if I knew I were going to die a slow and painful death, I’d just end it now.” Hollywood shows us images of brave heroes who take their own life rather than be captured by torturers.
Yet somehow, when the pain is emotional, we call them cowards. We judge a person who sees no end in sight to the pain they are feeling.
If you were in a burning building, and your two choices were stay in a room and burn or jump out the window, would you sit quietly and burn to death, or would take the dive?
This is what suicide is. From this person’s perspective, they see no way out. They do not believe their pain will end.
You do not have to agree with or like the fact that someone close to you took his/her own life, but unless you learn to accept and respect the decision, you will only perpetuate the pain they tried to stop. It is not your burden to carry.
In 2005, I spoke to my brother on the phone several hours before he took his life. He did not tell me what he had planned to do, and I was shocked by how happy he sounded. I hadn’t heard him that easy-going and upbeat for years. I thought he was getting back on track.
Looking back, I realized that the reason he was so happy was because his decision was made. He was being liberated from his prison of pain.
After the anger and sadness, I learned to accept his decision. Who am I to call him a coward? To call him selfish?
Find the gift in everything that comes. Life happens through you, not to you.
**If you are in Houston and you or a person you know has thought about suicide, I highly recommend the tremendous work of Jennifer Chapple, practitioner in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy).
photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/n1ct4yl0r/9898490826/