What I’m about to share is super important because I believe it can be applied to each and every one of our healing journeys.
Pain, I have come to learn, has a very tactful and wise way of sneaking up on us, over and over again. Having faced the harsh grips of both anxiety and depression about 13 years ago, I recall just how these ups and downs often felt unbearable. Just when I believed I was getting better, I found myself knocked over with another period of intense depression, rendering me paralyzed and unable to even get out of bed on most days.
What nobody tells us is that IT DOES GET BETTER, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t face the
grips of pain again. If anything, I have learnt that pain is a constant in my own life, knocking on my door ever so often to remind me that I will ALWAYS have some inner work to redirect my attention towards. Now, when we learn to view pain in THIS way, it becomes more of a recurrent, yet ‘uninvited visitor’ in our lives who we come to welcome in over time, with more grace and acceptance. Pain becomes a blessing which we’re grateful for, rather than something we build up endless amounts of resistance towards.
It takes practice.
At the beginning, it’s so common for us to ignore pain’s knock on our front door, hoping it would just go away and never return again. So, in an attempt to avoid the experience of pain, we build our entire lives around not facing it. We sneak out through the back door and every time it approaches us, we very cleverly ensure that we don’t look it straight in the eye. Pain is, by its inherent nature,
PAINFUL. It’s a human tendency to want to avoid the experience of pain, but what we don’t realise is that in this process of avoidance, we also end up creating MORE pain for ourselves. The path of
avoidance eventually becomes trodden with thorns, forcing us to stop and reconsider our journey –
and this happens again and again until we learn to finally open the front door and sit with our pain. The truth is that pain is a visitor which waits and waits, like a faithful friend, until we’re ready to face it. It never goes away.
I often tell my clients one important lesson in the experience of pain: it’s not about never
experiencing pain again – this is NOT the goal and is in fact, largely unrealistic. What matters is that the intensity of the pain, the frequency with which it occurs and the duration of how long each episode lasts, eventually gets easier and more softer over time.
So, to return back to the faithful metaphor of our ‘unwelcome visitor’ knocking on our front door,
we eventually learn to welcome pain in, rather than avoiding it altogether. When we do this, we
recognise that it comes in with eyes full of softness and a heart full of wisdom to share. Pain has no evil intentions, BUT to help guide us back to our deepest and most authentic selves. This helps us ease ourselves in her presence and open our own hearts to listen to her message. When we take
heed of its message, it visits less and less often.
This is because we’ve finally made the courageous choice to listen.
If you keep wondering whether you’re actually getting better and how well your healing journey may be going for you, I suggest using this important indicator: Continue to practice welcoming pain in and listening to what it has to say. Then take action and implement the knowledge you’ve gained from it. Keep measuring both the intensity, frequency and duration of your sad, overwhelmed or anxiety-provoking episodes. When we do this, it gives us a quantitative measure for our often busy and confusing inner world and helps us better track our own progress.
This has made the WORLD of a difference in my own life. Try it out for yourself and let me know how
you find it!
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