How often do you reach for a pill for pain relief? How often do you take a drink for stress relief? How often do you look for something, anything, to fix whatever is wrong?

In the therapy field, we do this as well. We try to find the right intervention to fix depression. We look for the right technique to fix relationships.

It is this immediate reaching for a remedy that is an integral part of addiction. In America, we are especially prone to this. We work on the pleasure principle – the idea that we must be happy all the time and sadness or hurt must immediately be relieved.

Well guess what? Sadness and hurt are part of life. We need to learn that we can tolerate these emotions and still survive. Even more, we need to learn that they are what allow us to appreciate joy and happiness, peace and contentment. These emotions are also what bind us together. It is in times of crisis and stress that we turn to each other, help each other, and comfort each other. This is the Connection of suffering and it is from this Connection that we can then Connect in joy.

Learn to be with your emotions – all of them. Learn to reach for a friend and not a pill when you are sad. Learn to ask for a hug and not a drink when you’ve had a rough day. Don’t run away from your troubles, just be with them and learn that you will be ok. You will be stronger, more self-reliant, and you will face life knowing that you can handle whatever comes your way with confidence and hope .