I want to talk about pain.
Not physical pain. Not the pain you feel when you stub your toe. Not the pain you feel when your finger gets caught in the crack of a closing door. Not even the pain you feel when you are in labour.
I want to talk about the raw, gut-wrenching pain that rises up from your center, into your racing heart and constricts your throat.
I want to talk about the power of emotional pain- the one when instincts take over and all you want to do is to run as far away as you can from it.
Your first inclination is to numb yourself from it. Yet, doing that just perpetuates the pattern. And inevitably, it always returns.
Pain has played an integral role in my life story. It is what propelled me to where I am right now. Today, I am happy to say, I broke out of its grip.
Going through my pain was so necessary for me to grow.
But, I am only able to say that now. Looking back, I can see that I was ready to give up, to surrender and to numb the heck out of my pain. Back then, I was sure there was no way I could sit in my pain; I believed it would kill me.
But it didn’t; instead, it strengthened me.
I tried to escape pain. I partied like a wild woman, especially post kiddies.
I drank, went clubbing, flirted, and was never at home. And during the daytime, I buried myself in my work. I travelled whenever I could. I did what I needed to do to run away from the overwhelm of managing a household, the demands of an unhealthy relationship, the judgments of my family, the constant neediness of my boys, the work pressures, and most of all, I wanted to run away from myself.
I just couldn’t allow myself to walk into the dark place, where my raw pain lived. Yet, in reality, that’s exactly what I needed to do. I needed to surrender so I could rejuvenate.
Eventually, my tricks of diversion lost their magic and what once worked for me started working against me. The partying started to deplete my body and my soul. I had become a disconnected and disengaged mother. While I was physically present, I was merely going through the motions of motherhood; I was not emotionally there for my children. I could feel the depth my superficial lifestyle was having on me and I could find no other pathways to run toward.
Reluctantly, I had no choice but to open myself up to pain. And it was agony. I finally let the tears flow-tears that I had blocked off for many years.
Leaning into and embracing your pain is as real as it gets. You can’t sugar coat this stuff, and the truth is, you shouldn’t. Pain is what pushes you through breakthroughs. It forces you to move out of your comfort zone into a place where you can grow and move beyond the darkness you feel inside. If you numb it, you do yourself a disservice.
Getting through deep emotional pain can be overwhelming and scary — especially if you are alone. Here are three suggestions to try if you are in a dark place and feel you can’t move forward to the other side:
Reach out: Don’t hide your pain. Talk to someone — a friend, a counselor, a coach, your sibling, a parent, a mentor, or anyone you respect and has your best interest in mind but do reach out. It took me five years before I could even talk to my sister about my pain, but it was the best thing I ever did. I regretted not having done it earlier. What stopped me was this ever-consuming burden of shame that picked away at me. I now realize that shame significantly hinders connection and growth. Don’t let shame get in the way of what can be.
Be Vulnerable: Allow yourself to open up without judgment. If you don’t share what the core issues are in an honest way, the help you receive will not be useful. In the end, ask yourself this: If you lent your ear to a friend, what would you wish for during that conversation? The key ingredients are honesty and compassion. Rich, heartfelt conversations — the kind that move mountains — are the ones that are real.
Receive: Open yourself up to receive. Too many of us have a difficult time receiving love and help from others. I still have much work to do in this area — the learning never ends. All you need to do is sit back, breathe, and allow. That’s your only job.
Are you avoiding your own pain? I know how hard it can be to face it alone, and that’s why I want to encourage you to take that next step. Acknowledge it and reach out. I can hold a safe space for you to push through your pain so that you make your own breakthroughs. Let’s set up a time to talk about what’s keeping you locked in. Click here to set up a call with me.