Own your pain
How we deal with our pain is, at some level, the sum total of who we choose to be as people.
We’ve all experienced it, and we all hate it. No one is immune to pain. Whether physical or emotional, it can be debilitating.
This simple phrase, “own your pain,” has some surprising depth to it. The different layers of meaning tucked into the verb “own” can give us some powerful methods of doing business with our personal pain.
Own your pain: recognize it
This is always the first, best step of dealing with pain — recognize that you got hurt in the first place.
Being unable or unwilling to recognize personal pain is like living ignorant of a serious disease — eventually, it will manifest its presence, and take its toll. At the point, it might be too late.
Be honest with yourself about the things that frustrate you, frighten you, or make you feel inferior.
These are your signals that there may be some sore places inside.
Own your pain: take possession of it
Most of us don’t have to dig too deep before we find hurt, trauma, or emotional injury. We don’t have to make it up.
But often we try to stuff it away with an excuse — because it’s not at the same level of severity of someone else’s pain, it doesn’t matter.
This is a lie. Certainly, there are others who go through trials and difficulties much deeper and much worse than the things I’ve experienced. But if I some day come up against a hard, hard thing like some of my friends are going through, won’t it be a lot easier to deal with that major pain if I don’t have a backlog of minor pain waiting in the wings?
Won’t I be better off if I already understand how I hide from or process pain?
It may not be the same severity as someone else’s struggle, but it still matters.
No one else can feel your pain. It’s yours alone, and no one else will ever have the exact same experience, wearing your exact same shoes, having your exact same perspective. This is why all our stories have value — we are the only one who ever has or will have this story to tell.
Own your pain: beat it
You can do business with your pain without becoming a martyr to it.
Your pain is part of your life, your being, and your person. But if you recognize it and choose to claim it, you can now decide what to do with it.
This is for the older stuff, the crusted-over wounds — fresh hurt needs time to heal, and I’m not suggesting you force yourself to fake being finished with a grieving process. (Many say grief never ends, merely lessens, and this is wisdom.)
But recognizing that past pain has potential to serve the future, both to benefit you and to aid others, is a valuable perspective.
This is a process, not a fixed point in time. Some days, the pain beats you. This is not failure. It is reality.
But tomorrow — tomorrow you get the opportunity to use the pain as your own means to make a difference. Then, you win.
I bet you have discovered ways in which your pain can be a tool for growth, or a way to help others. Share your thoughts below?