When Life Hurts

Sometimes life hurts. Sometimes its a dull ache, and sometimes it cuts like a knife. No matter how much positive thinking we do, no matter how many affirmations we say, no matter how “together” we are, sometimes things come along and the pain feels bigger than we are. 

There is such an emphasis now on the learning that comes in difficult times, that we often feel we should be able to “handle” whatever comes our way. This means we should ‘be strong’, ‘keep a stiff upper lip’, ‘go with the flow’ ‘keep it in perspective’, and all the other cliches that urge us to deny our feelings. But feelings serve a purpose. 

When the body suffers a cut, a little bleeding is good because it cleanses the wound. When the emotional body is wounded, feelings also serve a cleansing function. Emotion that is stuffed down or suppressed creates tension in the body, so it is healthier to release it.

This does not mean venting it on others, but simply allowing yourself to feel the emotion. If you feel like crying, then have a good cry. If you are angry, go for a run, bang some balls around the racquet court, or even write a nasty letter that you won’t send. Let the emotion move through you, and then think about your course of action, if action is required. Often discussing your feelings with a trusted friend helps to release some of the power behind the strong emotion. And if the emotion seems overwhelming, reach out for support.

Some of the deepest healing occurs when we realize that we are not alone in this world. We are only alone if we isolate ourselves. Often too, it is only in our deep pain that we truly experience our humanness and allow others to touch our soul. Souls want to be touched, and sometimes deep pain is the only way to penetrate the shell of superficiality that surrounds the deepest parts of our being.

We must honor our pain, the same as we honor our joy, for both are expressions of who we are. Of course, we want to get past it, and we do have to move on, or we’d emotionally bleed to death. But the way past pain is through it. If it becomes overwhelming however, you don’t have to go through it alone. The pain just might be a signal that it is time to connect more deeply with another human soul, whose arm may already be outstretched in anticipation of your reaching out. We need each other. That’s why we’re all here. 

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for daily inspiration.