Simply put…..pain is pain.
No one has the right to tell you anything about your pain. No one can tell you if your pain is right or if your pain is wrong. No one can tell you if you are hurting too much or not enough. Too often we have outside sources judging our pain, rating your pain or even validating your pain. Your pain is yours and yours alone.
So let’s explore this subject and see where it takes us. This is typically a subject that people like to shy away from It’s not a fun subject to talk about, but I feel it is a very necessary subject. You have to understand pain in order to process and deal with it. So we will breakdown the basics of pain, how we deal with our own pain and how people treat you and your pain.
Pain is simply something that causes you discomfort or distress. It can be physical, it can be mental or it can be emotional. All three of these pains are valid and need to be dealt with. We very often deal with physical pain and ignore the mental/emotional pain. Broken bones will heal in six weeks, broken hearts will take longer.
We don’t think twice about going to the doctor for our physical pain. If we break our arm we go the hospital to get it fixed. We have a rating system for physical pain. How many times have you been at the doctors and they ask you to rate your pain from 1 to 10. With physical pain we have something to show for it. We wear a cast if we break a bone. We use a bandaid if we cut our finger. We can show someone a scar and explain to them how we got hurt.
Emotional/mental pain – now that’s a whole different ballgame.
Emotional/mental pain as not bounds. We have nothing that we can show other people to tell them how we were hurt. We carry emotional/mental pain in our head, our heart and in our soul. There is no limit it this pain. It has all the freedom to expand into every fiber of our being. It can invade our dreams and it has the potential to impact every aspect of our lives. It is up to us to put a limit on the damage that our pain can cause. Here’s an example of what I mean:
Example: You as a child experience a trauma. It can be mental, emotional or physical, either way, you are in pain. This childhood pain will follow you into your teens and then adult life and will become a part of who you are. Many people who experience a childhood trauma will turn to substance abuse in order to dull that pain. Unfortunately substance abuse will only cause the pain to rampage with no bounds. Now take that same child, and the same trauma and control that pain. You have to turn around and face that pain. Acknowledge it, call it out, call it every name in book, just don’t ignore it. Pain will impact every aspect your life when you pretend it is not there. I will not tell you to let it go. That is just stupid. You might as well tell your left leg to get lost. Your pain is a part of who you are and should not go away. I’m not saying to keep it in the forefront of your life, I’m saying acknowledge it, file it and go forward.
Back to the subject
Mental/emotional pain is a silent stalker. Mental/emotional pain can a childhood bully, a neglectful spouse, an absentee parent or an overbearing boss. Mental/emotional pain is anything that hurts your heart, your soul and gets your inner voice talking shit on you in your head. There is not limit to what damage this can do to you. There is no scar you can show anyone. You cannot go to the hospital and rate your mental/emotional pain. You have to figure out what path works best for you when it comes to this pain. You can keep this pain to yourself or you can share it. Describing this pain can be daunting. It’s hard to put feeling into words, it is like trying to describe a color. You can share your pain with people who have similar experiences but no one will ever have exact formal of pain that you have. Mental/emotional pain is like a snowflake, not two are alike. For some reason mental/emotional pain comes with guilt. Guilt is an ugly demon but we will get into that another time. I do highly suggest the following: share your pain in a safe environment, find a healthy outlet and find a healthy storage unit in you.
So here is my point. Physical, mental or emotional, your pain is uniquely yours. You have to own it and figure out how you want to deal with it. Once you learn to be okay with your own pain, you can start to show compassion for other peoples pain. You can’t experience it but you can understand it. What you might think as “not a big deal” might be earth shattering to someone else and that is perfectly okay. There is no reason to rate anyone’s pain, you just have to accept the fact that the person standing in front of you is hurting.
This brings me to a personal note. The only fight my sister and I ever got into was over this subject. I know she had a hard childhood and she protected me every chance she got, but I had a hard childhood also. I couldn’t get her to understand that even though her experiences were painful, mine were also. It took a fight on my front lawn for us to get past the pain and actually see each other and our unique pain.
It is my hope that after reading this you will gain a new understand and compassion when it comes to this subject. When you hear someone talk about their pain, just try and not compare it to your own. Have compassion if their pain seems trivial compared to yours. Who knows, that table might turn one day you and you will need someone to show you the same compassion back. If someone doesn’t understand your pain, just realize that they don’t understand their own. Don’t get mad and don’t take it personal. It’s them, not you.
I will be the first to tell you that I don’t have all the answers, but if you do need help let me know. I will help you find resources in your area. You should never feel like you are alone and your pain is real.