Understanding Suicide

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Having worked with many people who have suffered from the suicide of a friend or family member, it is clear that a common feeling is one of guilt. Anyone who knew the person asks themselves if there is anything they could have done that might have made a difference. Those who were in conflict with the suicide victim, or who may have slighted him or her, wonder if they somehow contributed to the tragedy.

Sadly, there are never any clear answers, and we can only speculate. Always, there are a combination of factors. Certainly there are external factors, which generally have built up over a long period of time. Financial or relationship struggles, seemingly insurmountable problems, and a bleak outlook all contribute, as do inner factors such as depression , and low-self esteem . However many individuals can experience all of the above, and never consider taking their own lives. Others reach the point of contemplating suicide, but never seriously attempt it.

What accounts for the difference? Some souls seem to carry more than their share of pain. We all have different pain thresholds for physical pain, and perhaps the same is true of emotional pain. We also vary in the intensity of our will to live. This is not always a result of life experience, for a strong will to live is often seen in premature babies. Some just seem to have an incredible spirit, and they defy all statistics, while others quietly let go. Some people see the positive in life, no matter what, and some seem only to see the negative. It is interesting to speculate as to whether the “will to live” factor is as significant to emotional health as a strong heart is to physical health. Perhaps one day it will be as measurable as blood pressure.

There is also the perspective that we come to Earth to fulfill some learning, and when we have completed what we came here for, then we leave. Significantly, one person’s departure becomes part of the learning of many others. A suicide permanently alters the lives of many. It seems like such a waste, but if it happens, we must take from the experience as much learning as we can, so that we can allow that person, even in death, to positively influence our lives.

This is a way of paying our respects to the soul of that individual. Regardless of how little value the victim placed on his or her own life, we can value the teaching. Though we may never fully understand, we can still honor them, not for taking their lives, but for touching ours.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.