“You’ll be okay; you are good at coping with life’s hurdles.” Have you ever heard this and wanted to stomp on the foot of the person who said it? I’ve heard it a lot, from the time I was in middle school and my parents got divorced, to the present day when I talk to friends or family about my problems. While well-meaning and essentially true, sometimes platitudes like this can be very hurtful. I have a very tender-hearted friend who often is offended by such comments. When we are hurting the last thing we want to do (or hear) is that we should just swallow down the pain and move on, which is what some of these remarks try to convey.
When we are in pain, in any of its many forms, we need to learn to give in to it and express it. I have a hard time with this lesson, it is hard to put into practice. Often when we are upset, we spread the misery to others. When this happens to me I feel guilty that my bad mood is the cause of someone else’s pain. So I try to keep quiet and hold it in.
Slowly I am learning what a joy it can be to open up and let go. I struggle at times with knowing who I should confide in, but I know I can always turn to myself. I have often gone into a bathroom or outside for a walk just so I could complain and cry. Saying it out loud helps to ease the sting of the hurt. Plus if you are truthful with yourself “I hate you because you make me feel unimportant and stupid,” you see the both the truth of your words and the exaggeration. “You NEVER help me around the house and I feel like a maid.”
I’m not sure if this works the same way for men as women, but many women are very emotional beings. We need to be heard and understood to feel good about ourselves. However I have found that we don’t necessarily need others to talk to, God, ourselves or even a journal can work wonders. The key is to really express what we are feeling. Once we understand our jealousy, fear, sadness or anger we can identify the causes and do something to change it.
Here are a few ideas to work through your pain:
- Admit your feelings. Recognition is half the battle. Once you know what you feel and why, you can decide to make the changes needed to move on.
- Make a list. Write down what you feel and why, then make a list of what you think the other person thinks and feels. Looking at both sides of the problems helps you see where you’re right, where you’re wrong, and how to bring both sides together.
- Ask for help. I have the hardest time with this. I do ask for help, but often in a roundabout way. When I do ask straight out I find that people are happy to help if only we can get over the thought of ourselves looking weak. (The weakness isn’t asking for help, it’s being too proud not to.)
- Keep your daily schedule. When we’re in pain many of us may bypass our normal routines of exercise, fun, and relaxation. This is when we need it most. You made your routine because it works for you, don’t give it up when you’re feeling lost.
- Forgive yourself. Think of your friends and family and the biggest mistakes they have made. Most likely you have forgiven them some pretty stupid and hurtful things. Forgive yourself as well. Moving on and starting fresh is the easiest way to move past a current hurt. You can’t change the past, but the future is wide open.
Also check out Tina Su’s wonderful article “How to be Naked Like a Baby.” It’s a wonderful look at the joy, love, awareness and energy of being a child. The easy recovery from problems and positive outlook that babies have is a great mental state to aspire to. These are great techniques to deal with life.