This post is not about relationships. This post is not about getting attention. This post is not about making other people feel bad.
This post is about the relationship we have with ourselves. This post is about calling attention to the way we think about ourselves. This post is about helping other people see things differently.
This post is about pain.
Pain is something that is an ever present companion for everyone in this life. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, how much money you have, what kind of job you have, or what kind of car you drive. You cannot get through this life without experiencing some variation of pain at one point or another. Since it seems that pain isn’t planning on going away any time soon, we’d better come up with a damn good plan for how to deal with it when it does come into our lives.
Everybody experiences pain differently and everybody processes pain differently. We are all unique beings with our own unique sets of coping mechanisms and ways of getting through hard times. Now I’m not just talking about physical pain here; I’m also talking about emotional, spiritual, and psychological pain. There are so many different ways that it can attack us and weasel its way into our lives. And once it is there it begins to affect every area of our lives beginning with our thoughts.
When I am in a state of pain (this applies for all manners of pain), outwardly I act as though I am fine when really on the inside I am falling apart. When I broke my ankle 3 months ago I was laughing on the way to the hospital, and cracking jokes when people asked how I was doing. Outwardly I was in high spirits but inwardly I was a mess. While the physical pain of breaking my ankle subsided rather quickly, the emotional pain that it caused me dug its roots deeper. The fact that in 60 seconds my whole world could change so drastically disfigured my heart. And rather than trying to dress the wound so that it could heal properly, I allowed for it to fester. I allowed for it to go septic and for the toxic thoughts that accompany pain to run rampant in my mind.
These thoughts are not concerned about you wellbeing or about trying to nurse you back to health. They are only concerned with making sure that you become so enveloped in your own pain that you become oblivious to the world around you. They do not alleviate the pain but rather they cut deeper: breaking bone and drawing blood. It is these thoughts that rail road the healing process whether that’s physically, emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically. They sow seeds of doubt, convincing us that we deserved this or that there is no way that we could ever go back to the way things were. That we will never be able to get past this pain because we are not strong enough. They are lies. But lies have a way of finding a home in our minds and convincing us that they are truths.
That is why it is so important for us to talk about our pain. It doesn’t matter if you think that it’s insignificant or unimportant. The pain that you feel matters. Because you matter. That pain has shaped you into the person that you are today, and without it you would not be as strong as you are right this second. We need to be able to share our experiences with others; to be able to talk through the pain and expose the lies that have been stalking us for so long, and to begin the journey towards healing. Whether that means that you talk it through with someone that you trust, or you write it out in a journal, or you paint it, or you dance it out, it doesn’t matter what medium or method you choose. What matters is that you are taking that first step towards expelling the lies and allowing for your wounds to begin to heal.
There are so many forms of pain, and I don’t claim to be an expert on any of them (Truth be told I’m not an expert on any of this. Just because I can write about different things does not mean that I have it all figured out or that I don’t still struggle with these same issues). The only thing that I am an expert on is my own pain; just like the only thing that you are an expert on is your own pain. There is no way for any of us to be able to truly understand what another person is feeling or experiencing. The only thing that we can know for certain is how we are feeling and what we are experiencing. However this does not give us the right to not care about those around us that are hurting; in fact it allows for the exact opposite to happen. When someone is ready and asks for help we are then able to lend advice from our own personal experience and journey and to speak into their lives what we have learned from our own. We grow stronger as we share our hurting and our healing with one another.
Life goes on even when we wish that it would stop, because how can life possibly keep going when I feel this broken. Yet even in my brokenness and in my hurting I have a choice. To either allow myself to wallow in my weakness and my pain, or to afford myself the grace to say “Yes, it hurts right now. But I do not wish to live in this hurt forever.” We must allow ourselves to feel the pain, because trying to ignore it only makes the wound deeper and the agony harsher. But we must also allow ourselves to heal. We must pull our minds and thoughts from the sorrow and begin to focus on how we will be restored, and who we will seek out to help us on the road to healing.
Some wounds are deeper than others, and some scars are thicker than others. But there is no wound so deep or life so damaged that it cannot be healed. No matter what you might be feeling or experiencing at this point in your life there is hope beyond the pain. There is a way through the hurt. It might take you years to get through it and it might have to hurt more before it gets better, but there is healing waiting for you on the other side.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to break up with the illusion that I deserve pain in my life. I’m ready to break up with the toxic thoughts that try to keep me captive to my pain. I’m ready to break up with this feeling that my hurting has prevented me from every being a worthy human being again. I’m ready to break up with pain. Are you?