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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

This Ride Inevitably Ends


 

Despite their many shortcomings, I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who didn’t lie to me about the inevitability of death. In this regard, for their wisdom in how I was raised, I remain thankful for the lessons of my mom and dad.

 

Lamentably, other people with whom I grew up were deceived about the topic of death and dying. They were taught from their youth that they’d live to an old age, perhaps dying on a bed in a hospital room while surrounded by loved ones.

 

Moreover, many of these people were instructed that upon their inevitable death—presumably in old age—they would enjoy an eternal afterlife. Of course, this continuation of existence was accompanied by the notion that endless bliss would likely occur.

 

It’s as though these individuals were conditioned to view human life as virtually endless—at least, until a person was elderly and prepared to die—after which literal nonstop amusement would carry on through spiritual existence. For these people, they were fooled into believing in a possibility rather than reality.

 

Fortunately, I was informed that death occurs in childhood, adolescence, and young, middle, and late adulthood alike. There is no set expiration date by which one is guaranteed to exist until dying in old age and enjoying the comfort of friends and family members.

 

In my youth, I understood that life was something like a rollercoaster ride. It had its ups and downs, twists and turns, and because each sequential step of life was essentially unknown, I had no idea how or when the ride would stop. Nevertheless, I comprehended that the ride inevitably ends.

 

Although I was taught the unfalsifiable claim of an afterlife, I wasn’t betrayed into believing I’d meet with loved ones, be given a mansion, walk streets paved with gold, or frolic in the warm glow of eternal love. The biblical interpretation relayed to me was less pleasurable or joyous.

 

From a Jehovah’s Witnesses perspective, I was told that I could go to Paradise where there was no sickness, old age, or death. This was the most desirable option to me, though I saw no actual evidence aside from the Bible to support this possibility.

 

From others, I was also taught that I could go to Heaven. Unlike how many people envision this experience, I was informed that without end, I’d bow down and worship Jehovah. While this perhaps seemed like a rewarding experience to some, young Deric thought it sounded exceedingly boring.

 

From other Christians, I was instructed about the concept of Purgatory. It was essentially a place of waiting until the time when souls would be judged. This notion sounded about as exciting to me as the thought of watching grass grow.

 

Still, others advised that I could potentially wind up in Hell, a place of everlasting torment. Despite how so many people misunderstand biblical lore by believing that Satan rules in Hell, the Bible instructs that Hell is a place in which even the Adversary will be punished along with other sinful souls.

 

If human life was a rollercoaster ride in which excitement, joy, pleasure, fear, surprise, disgust, and other emotional experiences occurred, the concept of an afterlife was fraught with many of these same characteristics. As a child, I wondered why I’d want to prolong either existence—mortal or immortal.

 

Despite potential of the unknown experience post-death, I was sure of one indisputable reality. I was alive and I would one day die. This was an inescapable truth. This ride inevitably ends.

 

Now, as a psychotherapist who works with people in regards to an existentialist perspective underpinning my preferred psychotherapeutic modality of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I encounter people who’ve been lied to about the inevitability of death.

 

While I take caution not to fill my client’s heads with irrational beliefs, similar to those I was taught about an afterlife experience, I don’t dispute people’s religious, spiritual, philosophical, or theoretical assumptions about what may or may not succeed this life. In this regard, I remain agnostic.

 

However, I do challenge unhelpful assumptions about death and dying. As an example, if client X irrationally demanded of life that his precious four-year-old daughter must not die before him, I would explore this unproductive belief and suggest the practice of unconditional life-acceptance.

 

I can die at any moment, client X may pass without notice, and his beloved daughter might expire anytime. The same is true for you, dear reader. You and everyone you currently know, have ever known, and may ever come to know will die. This ride inevitably ends.

 

You don’t have to like or love reality. All the same, truth and reality exist despite your rejection of these essences. These elements preceded you and will carry on long after your current physical form ceases animation.

 

If you can unconditionally accept what merely is without unhelpfully demanding what you believe ought to be, I imagine that the time you have remaining—however long that may be—can then be devoted to a purpose-driven and meaningful life. After all, this ride inevitably ends.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/disputation

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2022, December 9). Like it, love it, accept it. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/like-it-love-it-accept-it

Hollings, D. (2022, June 23). Meaningful purpose. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/meaningful-purpose

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2023, September 15). Psychotherapeutic modalities. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/psychotherapeutic-modalities

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2022, May 28). Stoically existential. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/stoically-existential

Hollings, D. (2022, December 14). The is-ought problem. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-is-ought-problem

Hollings, D. (2022, July 11). Unconditional acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, March 11). Unconditional life-acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-life-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2023, September 22). You’re gonna die someday. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/you-re-gonna-die-someday

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