We all carry some pain in our hearts.
We live our lives, and do our best to put on our “happy faces,” believing that if we don’t, we won’t survive.
Who wants to hire a depressed person? Who wants to work with or spend time with someone who’s “a drag”?
For many of us, since we were born, we have been the targets of a conditional love that has told us we must be easy to handle in order to receive the love we so desperately need. So, we do our best to put on our happy faces and go about our lives constantly trying to earn loving by pretending to be whatever we’ve been conditioned to believe is the most lovable.
But what about our pain?
No matter what we do, no matter how we try to bury it, no matter how we try to best it, it still remains.
In my life so far, I’ve cycled through so many different career paths and chosen livelihoods, and while immersed in every single one, there has always been a deep pain that has colored my service to the world.
I always used to put on my happy face, doing my best to share the purest form of my gifts. But, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake the pain. I might have been able to fool others, but I was never able to fool myself. The pain always remained inaccessible to me, like some elusive ghost, because I was never really willing to accept it and go into it. I was always trying to find a way around it.
If I didn’t, I, just like so many others, subconsciously believed I wouldn’t get the love I needed.
For many of us, this is the only way we know how to deal with our pain. There is no other reliable option, so we invest our energy into convincing others that we feel good, or that we are “okay.”
We do whatever it takes to be agreeable and easy to manage or hang out with.
But this doesn’t have to be the way we live our lives. There is a better option, and I’m only able to write these words today because I have discovered it in my own life.
When we accept that we are in pain, and that it is okay to be in pain, we open ourselves to a whole new world of support that can help us heal our pain.
As long as we agree with the conditioning we were born into, which tells us it is not okay to have this pain or feel it, we will find ourselves surrounded by others who buy into the same shame-based paradigm, and live the same thing.
As I have been willing to vulnerably accept that my pain exists for me, and have chosen to surrender all of the clever ways I’ve devised to hide it or suppress it, love from my outside world has been able to show up for me, touch my heart, and help me to heal.
It has felt like taking off a heavy piece of armor that’s been protecting me, yes, but has also been preventing me from experiencing the joy and intimacy I most want to experience.
No matter how hurt we are, we can decide that we will no longer buy into the idea that there is something to be ashamed of because we are in pain. We can step back from this idea and realize that it was created and perpetuated by others who were in pain as well, but were not able to see what we are seeing right now.
We need not make ourselves susceptible to further hurt and attack when taking off our armor. We simply need to trust that it is possible to be loved exactly as we are, and that if we choose to stop hiding what we are, we become visible to those who are capable of helping us. When they show up, we will recognize them by their warmth, wisdom, and understanding, and we can then responsibly choose to open ourselves to the love they have to offer.
The journey of healing begins with this one crucial shift. The moment I stopped buying into the lie that I’m wrong, or “a bad boy,” because I feel angry or hurt or sad, is the moment love was allowed to show up for me and wash over my heart, once again.
No matter where we are on our journeys of healing at this moment, not yet started or seasoned veterans, there is always more love, acceptance, and support available to us. We simply have to let it in, and we do so by honestly acknowledging our pain, and recognizing we have nothing to be ashamed of in having it.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and in choosing to vulnerably honor ourselves exactly as we are, we begin our journeys toward pain free existences.
The healing starts with us, and while there may be a short period of time where it’s only us, it’s only a matter of time before we meet another who is able to support us.
Believe me when I say that it has not been easy, but I have been met every step of the way as I have been willing to honestly look at and acknowledge my pain. Step by step, more love is able to wash over me, and step by step, I release the deeply programmed tendency to be something other than what I really am in my day-to-day life.
I know the same will be true for any person who makes the same choice I did to honor his or her pain. All that is required is that choice, and life will take care of the rest.
Author: Rahul Bhambhani
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Natalia Drepina/Deviantart