For the Kardashians, Love Trumps Pain


Over the past few weeks, we have seen Kris Jenner supporting her daughter Khloé beside Lamar Odom in the hospital.

It's tough stuff.

When it comes to life's challenges, the Kardashians are not immune.

As a grief specialist who has been with families during most of life's biggest challenges—illness, betrayal, divorce, addiction and death, I can tell you that while we all are imperfect, Kris Jenner has summoned strength with compassion in life's hardest moments.

Some say it's all for the cameras. While there is no doubt that Kris is a savvy businesswoman, she demonstrated this capacity even before her reality show existed, whether that was standing loyal to her friend Nicole Brown Simpson's memory or showing up for her ex-husband, Robert Kardashian, as he battled cancer. She says they remained close till his death.

Recently we watched Kris deal with grief when Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn. For Caitlyn, it was the ultimate finding of her identity and cause for celebration. For Kris, she understandably felt a sense of loss with Bruce's transition. Despite her hurt and need for time to process, Kris shared her feelings and is moving forward.

We've seen the Kardashian kids follow their mom's lead through the years by showing up for each other and I respect that. And it's been especially moving to watch Khloé Kardashian show up in the most urgent of circumstances over the past few weeks. It's no surprise that Khloé has shown up so fully. She has a great role model in Kris.

Khloé has been there "for better or worse, in sickness and in health" at her husband Lamar Odom's bedside, even as their marriage was winding down. Fortunately, with Khloé by his side, Lamar is miraculously recovering.

We don't get a do-over in life's critical moments, no matter how hard they may be. In these moments we reveal who we really are.

How can we all deal with life's gravest challenges more successfully? Here's what I know to be true.

1. Love trumps pain. After years of working with people who have countless regrets on their deathbeds, I can tell you that nobody wakes up in the morning and wants to hurt a loved one, abandon them or cause pain. People hurt when they are scarred and have fears, addictions or old pain. And the consequence is that wounded people wound people. We've seen Kris break that cycle by taking positive action. Focus on the love, not the pain.

2. Show up! Even when it's excruciating, even when you are busy, acknowledge the pain and show up for the people you love. We've watched Kris reveal her feelings and her grief. She understands that grief must be witnessed. For the Kardashians, millions often witness their pain, but the principle is just as true for all of us. Each day I work with people who keep their feelings buried about their divorce, betrayal and loss. All that buried pain becomes our unfinished business and that unfinished business holds us back from living.

3. Compassion is a verb. We rarely can find compassion for our loved ones at a distance. Once you show up, despite the hurt, find compassion. If compassion remains a thought, it grows into a regret. Kris is known for having ideas and turning them into action. Khloé's behavior demonstrates Kris's greatest legacy...a legacy of the heart.

All of our relationships change. None of us are perfect and people get hurt. We hope we can work it out. We think we have forever to heal our fractured relationships. But sometimes, sadly we do not.

If your relationships ended today, would you be happy with your behavior? If not, remember the love, show up and find compassion today.