Monday, March 15, 2010

Pain as a gift?

Could this pain really be a gift? Is pain ultimately guiding us to our true selves? To live our destiny? Is it just our perceptions of pain that keeps us suffering? Do we misguidedly believe pain is bad and we must rid ourselves of it. Our conditioned belief that we cannot endure suffering and we must do anything to overcome it, rid ourselves of it no matter what the cost.

But what is the cost? Pushing down feelings, closing our hearts, living lives that are just barely tolerable and possibly creating illness in our bodies from unprocessed pain? I have read many times that many physical illnesses or chronic injuries in our body are caused by unresolved pain. There’s a whole book on back pain being contributed to addicts and alcoholics not facing their pain. Our emotions get lodged inside our bodies because if we can’t express them and choose to repress them, our bodies will express them for us.

Or another cost could be not realizing who we really are and allowing our fears, addictions and obsessions to rule our life, creating the same patterns of pain over and over again. Instead of going into our pain, we just remain on the surface of it or not even going close to it by running away from it. Instead of investigating the dark and embracing our wounds and feeling our painful emotions, we find something to distract ourselves … a new relationship or an addiction to a legal or illegal substance. But can you really run away from your pain? Can these distractions really soothe these pains for good?

Sometimes I wish I could do this. I really do. I still see pictures of my ex with his girlfriend, the one he got right after our intense (and his first sober) relationship, and wonder how can they still be together after a year. I thought she was just a bandaid to fill his void. I often wonder how is it she tolerates him having such a “close” and what I thought was a dysfunctional and codependent relationship with his ex if I couldn’t (which I go into in the post Happy New Me). I thought it was my semi self-esteem and self-value that had me choose to not tolerate that anymore. I thought it was my wise intuition that finally said “no more, it’s time to leave. You are right this is not healthy even if he is so sweet to you and you adore each other. Nothing good can come of this.”

But good came to him just two months later and a new admiring girlfriend that he has now had a relationship with longer than we had. And, me, I’m still here in the pain. Am I in the right place? Like the wise sages say, I am going through this pain, working through my feelings, really trying to process old wounds, yet I am still suffering. So how can I can believe this pain is a gift? How can I know I did the right thing, not only to leave, but to investigate this pain? To go down into this really dark place? Do I just need to embrace this suffering instead of trying to rid myself of it, believing this will lead me to my authentic self, to a happier ending? Is it really better to go into the pain like all the wise spiritual teachers say? Because I am not feeling it. Yes I know my perception probably needs to change, as do my self-defeating beliefs and on what I see/perceive in his life and his relationship. But it is really hard. I guess I want a guarantee that I will be free by doing all this deep and painful work. I want to see (want proof) that my "intuition" and my "courageousness" to leave was right. And by right, I want to see that it is not working out for him. That choosing to run away from your pain, run away from something good due to fears & codependency is not a good choice and that will lead to unhappiness and suffering. But I am seeing quite the opposite! Or perhaps I am just creating my own suffering by doing this. I don’t know. I want to believe one thing, but I don’t yet.

If pain truly is a gift, I am ready to accept my gift.

Thanks Dulce for inspiring me to post something. I have all this stuff locked away in my journal...


  1. Oh!!!
    I am so happy you've responded to my dear. Yes... your writing means so much to me. Especially this one means SO much to me, because I relate to it to a great extent... the suffering and the trying to hide away from it by doing several silly things...
    But It's too sad, though, to hear about that co-dependance of yours. As I see it, you are who you are because of him? It seems He is first and then second... and maybe you'd be third?
    My suffering is no longer for an ex partner... when we broke up I was sure there would be no way back... and only three months later he was happily in love again. But i did not suffer for me (but for her-lol) , instead, I was happy that he had found someone who could bear his company. The freedom I've had ever since is much more valuable than anything in the world, apart from our son.

    I realized I was no longer in love... and All the time I stayed with him in the last years of our relationship was just a lie... because I was - as so many of us- afraid of being alone.

    All we need to do is turn the page. Open the windows to find a new light. If we search we'll find that other colour and get rif of the old ones...

    Stop suffering my friend... that pain leads us nowhere.Or maybe it does. High time it did for you after more than a year...But turn into the opposite direction, please, try.

    Thanks so much for this post, B


  2. Only last summer I was 1,000 miles from home Naples, FL) on my scooter. I loved the freedom to roam, to stop and spend time anywhere the spirit led me, to go to meetings everywhere, to stay with friendly Peeps who had been only hours before, strangers. I loved it all so much, I did not wish to return home.

    A wise person said to me over a telephone--at my "turning point"--"Steve, turn your bike AND YOUR HEAD in the other direction. Go home. You are a good man, do not ruin your life by running, running"...or something similar.

    The pain has been smoothed and soothed by enterior and interior behaviors. For me, it is/was the pain of "wanting more, having expectations which exceeded the reality.

    The pain you write of is not limited by gender, age, experience, religion, or that "reality". It can only be limited by (as Dulce wrote), "TURNING THE PAGE" or "GO IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!"


  3. pain prods us into action. that's the gift of pain. don't hide it. its self-destructive.

  4. I'm not sure I see pain as a gift. However it was pain that made me start writing again and so I suppose that pain can sometimes inspire..and thats the painful irony maybe?

    Mind you, pain from loss and heartbreak has also hopefully made me a better person as it gave me the opportunity and turmoil to take a look inside me.
    Most people don't do that when they think that their happy!

  5. pain is many things, but a gift? don't think so!