I was once on a flight back from a speaking engagement in Edmonton when I got the call from Larry King’s office saying he wanted me back on the show to help people deal with the mental anguish of the trauma you go through when a life-altering event occurs. Even though I was asked to be on the show last minute, it turned out great. This was the third time in less than a year I had been on the show.
The interesting fact is that everyone has a different response when they are subjected to these types of life-altering events. Some people rise to the occasion and become stronger immediately. Others are in absolute shambles and may go into depression. What is the difference then between the two?
The main difference is how we have been conditioned to react to life’s ups and downs and the meaning that we give the event or circumstance.
While we were on the show Larry had one guest who was devastated at losing her home while another was grateful for having her life. She had also lost her brother in 9/11 and in contrast, losing her home now was insignificant. I had to ask myself how I would have felt had I lost my home. After careful reflection my thought was that I would be ok with it. I have learned not to get attached to my materialistic possessions and live my life in constant gratitude of the important things like my health, family and God. My wife on the other hand did not share my feelings, she was very distraught at the possibility of losing our home.
Can it be as simple as what we focus on is what we feel? The answer is yes, however, when we are dealing with loss, tragedy and pain, it’s easier said than done.
Our brains go into an automatic mode of protecting us and release neuro chemicals that enter our bloodstream and cause us to feel the effects of those chemicals.
As everyone has different reactions to trauma, the most important part for us to realize is that love, compassion and empathy is the best solution and to allow anyone who is experiencing their feeling to do so with absolute freedom and without judgment.
Time does heal and the right environment of friends, family and a great community helps.
I take my hat off and give thanks to the firefighters and thousands of other people who have helped all of us here in San Diego.