Wishing Our Wounds Were Different : Our Pretense with Pain
Have you ever known someone who is clearly hurting but won’t do anything about it? You fuss at them about the limp, that ache, the complaining, and they keep saying “it’s nothing”. Why do we do this? Fear? Shame? Pride? We belittle things that pain us — especially internal things — even though pain, wounds, and scars are not unique to any one person or group. Everyone — even you — has pain and wounds. Pain from a scrapped knee or broken ribs, wounds from abuse, from neglect, or rape. Pain from dysphoria, a disorder, unwanted desire, or never being desired. Something has caused you pain. That’s ok. No one is unwounded.
Did you hear me? That’s ok. The wound is ok.
I’m going to make a blanketed statement that I have no scientific proof to back up. It’s simply the reality from the studies I’ve had at the School of Life: Everybody, at some point, wishes their wounds were different.
You may wish the wounds weren’t so visible.
You may wish they weren’t so easy to hide.
You may wish they were just different in nature.
You may wish to have what you perceive is a “lesser” wound.
You may wish you had a nobler wound, even less debilitating or more acceptable pain.
Bottom line is this : you are wanting something different than what you have. The lot you’ve been given is one you wish was someone else’s, or maybe no one’s at all. I’ve been right there and it is utterly maddening.
Insert your story. No matter how embarrassing. The wrong that was done to you or that you were involved in? Not ok. The wound that has been created? You are no less because it’s there. You are still a part of this great humanity. Even if someone else wants to exclude you, telling you you’re less than, this isn’t up for debate. Entrance into the family of humanity isn’t a democratic vote, it’s literally a God-given intrinsic gift.
Question: are you that someone? The someone who finds it easy to look down at another who’s wounds and pain are different than yours? But what if you were them? What if they were you? What if we wore the other person’s shoes, their skin, their fears, their ailments and wounds for a while?
What if you didn’t want to have it, but it’s there and you can’t change it?
What if it made you question your worth? Your value? Your voice?
Then you — the one who can easily put others in the “less than” category — would be on the other side of the fence, the wrong side of the tracks. Would you understand? Could you learn mercy?
Let’s be real. The pain you carry, the wounds you cover up, they are hidden in your secrets, my friend. Some of them are the secrets you refuse to share because of the shame. Some of them are secrets you only share with a few who can hold you accountable. Some of the secrets you fully indulge in — secretly of course — because if you were to partake freely, you may be “one of them”. But the reality of secrets is there is pain and wounding behind them. Too often what is used to keep your own secrets hidden is turning the shame you feel on someone else.
Is it working though? Or can you feel the collateral damage within? When you exclude a person from humanity, what do you think happens within you? You don’t go unscathed. No one does; our ability to connect authentically with empathy erodes as we shroud dignity with shame. And there is no deep, lasting healing from our secrets, wounds, or pain without connection and empathy.
What if the most human way we can interact with each other and know each other is through empathy, is to be merciful? To not discard one another but to aid each other in our healing — recognizing we ALL have to go through healing from pain and engage change in some way?
All of us — all us humans — carry within us the pain of our past, mistakes, failures, unrealized hopes and dreams. So what that the story behind your wound is different than someone else’s? We both have been wounded. Period. Let’s start there. On level ground.
And the beauty of leveling the playing field is this one unifying truth: Pain is a part of being human. And though unpleasant, it is often a connection point for someone with whom we have nothing else in common. That is exactly where you can find beauty from the hurt.
Let’s learn to be fully human, together. Let’s search to find ourselves in the story of the “other” — and hopefully move close to “one another” in the process. Let’s look our pain and shame in the face, standing in our full humanity. Are you willing to take the risk of hearing the story of someone else, not to ridicule or compare, but to get curious about where you intersect? Facing our own pain is worth it, my friend. Oftentimes, we are surprised at the souls we encounter on the journey that have been waiting for us to help walk them home.