Pain and I have a sort of love/hate relationship. I am no stranger to pain; it’s been a constant, mostly unwanted, companion since childhood. I can still recall, with almost masochistic clarity, some of the most painful moments from my youth. Some were only small wounds, like insults from bullies, falling out of favor with a group of friends, woefully embarrassing incidents. But there were others that left a gaping wound that reopened periodically throughout my adult life; sabotaging relationships, pushing dear friends away, causing me to self-harm and self-medicate.
I’ve often sat and reflected on how I am able to relive my pain with such vividness, why the happy moments are so foggy and more difficult to dredge up. I’ve spent much of the first half of 2018 in introspection and self-examination, and it’s slowly starting to reveal what pain has been all along: my teacher. Pain has taught me many things, but the most important thing I’ve learned from my painful teacher is that I am imbued with a strength that expands and fortifies with each wound I receive.
I admit, I’ve often fell into the victim role. Everything in life seemed to be happening to me, and not for me. I felt weak, abandoned, emotionally and spiritually frail. I was an internal invalid. But with each excruciating lesson I learned, I began to shred that victim role I had played for so long. I suddenly realized that I did survive the moments when I truly felt I would not make it. I had endured those moments to encounter more pain, but then somehow always prevail.
I have always hated my pain. Hated how it made me feel. It’s the type of sensation that is almost indescribable. A deep, persistent ache that seemed to emanate from somewhere deep down within my very soul. The kind of pain that fooled you into believing it would never end. But then, it did. One day you wake up, and the pain dissipates to a distant echo inside. This is where the learning begins. This is where the seeds that were planted during your painful moments start to break open and sprout. It depends on you whether or not those sprouts become weeds or flowers within you.
For a long time, before I began to conceptualize my pain, I let those sprouts turn into weeds. Weeds that choked me, held me back and kept me rooted in misery. But today, I am beginning to see the divine lessons that pain has taught me. It has taught me strength, of course, resilience, kindness, empathy, compassion and unconditional love.
This universe is one giant classroom. We have many teachers in this life who shape and mold us, guiding us towards our true and authentic selves. Today, I pay my respects to one of my greatest teachers, pain. Without it, I would not be the person I am today. The person I am today is better than the one I was yesterday. And the person I’ll be tomorrow is better than the person I am today.
Don’t hate your pain. Don’t avoid your pain. Don’t try to numb your pain. Sit with it. Embrace it. Feel every ache, every stab, every pang. Try and see what it is trying so desperately to teach you. Pain is not the enemy. It is in the avoidance of pain where we find suffering. So let pain be your teacher. You never know what life changing, enlightening knowledge you might find to guide you along your journey.
Author: Kelly Bryant
Author Bio: Learning to love, embrace and integrate all aspects and iterations of myself. Hoping to reach people going through some sh*t. It’s going to be okay. You’ve got this. We’ve all got this.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @_eleanorabernathy_