Read This if You’re Hurting
If you have tears in your eyes, droplets rolling down your cheeks, a gut-wrenching knot in your stomach, and unimaginable pain emanating from somewhere within your heart, read this.
I will not tell you it’s okay because it most definitely is not. Nobody deserves to be taken so far away from themselves that they can barely recognize their own shadow. I will also not tell you it gets better because it really depends on how you define better. And I will not tell you to stop crying but not for the reason you might think.
I have come to find that to feel your pain that deeply and that viscerally often means that you’re doing a lot better than you think you are. That gnarly, twisting sensation in your chest, that’s a reminder that you are alive and it’s a reminder that tells you “you better take note of this, this is what it felt like”. So when it passes, which is not something you might want to believe right now, but it always passes and when it does your heart will know the sweetness of life placed against that bitter sting and it will rejoice twice as much.
Enough pain and enough living will make it apparent to you that your pain is something special. It’s what reminds your beating heart in its best moments that you were praying for this when the seasons were different.
Let’s come back to your pain. Gently cradle yourself and hold that body of yours like it needs you. Cross your arms around your chest. Here are two things you don’t want to do with that pulsing ball of energy within you.
- Don’t make it your lover.
Pain is a lousy life partner, it takes too much if you let it, it’s clingy and has no sense of boundaries. So keep it at bay, keep it at a safe distance where you can observe it and just faintly understand its muffled cries. Do not fall in love, it’ll wreck you both and we all know that one messy relationship that was a bitch to crawl out of.
2. Don’t make it your enemy.
Pain is like your fire manifested within your heart. It’s out of control and it doesn’t care when it is convenient for you to get hurt. Pain is immediate, it’s honest, and it’s relentless. It won’t go away if you throw stones at it. It will never turn its back on you but if you fail to hear what it’s telling you, it will never leave.
Here’s something you CAN do with your pain.
Make it your ally.
It might not be a good lover, but pain is solid friendship material. It only wants what’s best for you, it can help you grow, and it’s a comrade for a lifetime. In foolish attempts to eliminate pain from my life, I have wasted many months just mulling over every bit of detail that has ever brought me pain. This is not a safe distance.
Like all good friendships, you want to set healthy boundaries with your pain. Have it right where you want it. And once you do, once you have it arm’s length away, stare deeply into that feeling, tilt your head ever so slightly so you can feel the brush of sensation grazing past your cheek and into your ears. When you’re ready, there will come a whisper, also pain is a pretty weepy friend so it would be a weepy whisper, and the whisper would tell you exactly what hurts. Exactly what you need to know about the pain in your chest, it will tell you kindly.
Don’t do anything once you hear the pain. Don’t judge, don’t change the topic, don’t run away, don’t neglect it, don’t make it feel ashamed, don’t blame it, and don’t assume what it says about you. Just let the words echo for a moment. Let it ring in the Colosseum of your rib cage, let it rise like the tide and with it will rise the discomfort but don’t change anything, in a moment it will pass, but for now, stand your ground. Brace yourself tight, your hands will learn how to hold you better and your breath will learn to lull you like a newborn baby. This will pass but that’s not the point.
Feel these feelings fully and deeply, immerse yourself in the experience and then you’ll notice it ebbing. Steadily declining in intensity and volume. Better sense will start returning to your mind and soon enough the show would be over.
As the whispers fade and along with them fades the evidence that any pain was once here, remember it for the faintest of seconds. Remember it as a lesson from an old friend and remember that your paths will cross again, that you will meet again in the future, another time, another lesson, another whisper, another embrace.
Your pain doesn’t want to haunt you, it just wants your solitary company. Perhaps at the oddest of times but you might want to learn to welcome it with open arms and you’ll have yourself a friend for life.
So here’s to pain.