It’s easy to want to numb when we’re hurting.
When our hearts are broken, when we’ve lost someone or something, all we want to do is not feel what we’re feeling.
It’s also easy to forget what good there is in the world and in our lives. What life was like before the hurt. Who you were before you met them.
The other day, I was listening to the podcast Raw Beauty Talks, and the episode, “The Journey from Hopeless to Healing” with Ruthie Lindsey. This woman’s story is pretty incredible; she was in an accident when she was a teenager, healed, and then dealt with the aftereffects years later when she became nearly bed-ridden from being in constant pain.
She talked about how all she did for seven years was eat food and watch crappy TV in bed whiling living in her brother’s house. Her pain became her identity, and she didn’t know how to get out of it, or what even existed outside of it.
Finally, she decided something had to change (you can listen to the podcast for full details), and something she said struck a chord with me. She said: “Something within me told me to make a list of all the things you loved before you had pain. Because I didn’t remember anything that brought me joy…I wrote down, ‘You love flowers. You love sunsets. You love people.'” And she had to add to this list and convince herself of these things every single day.
I know it can seem like the future is bleak—in whatever pain it is that you’re in. I know it can be hard to know what life will look like, especially if the pain came unexpectedly.
But remember that there was a time when things were good. There was a you before the hurt. And slowly, you can get back to her once again.
These are a few things on my list (and I’d love to hear what some of yours are):
>> Watching the sunset from my little attic window and taking a photo through the dusty glass.
>> Waking up at 7:30 a.m. with coffee and writing in a journal.
>> Making turmeric lattes and turmeric paste on my first days off on a Sunday to enjoy for the rest of the week.
>> Cooking a new vegetarian recipe while listening to My Favorite Murder podcast.
>> Biking to a hot yoga class and then sitting at a local cafe for breakfast (pre-pandemic).
>> Reading an actual fiction book. The kind that gets you lost in its pages.
>> Going to a live music show, drinking IPAs, watching someone else perform their passion.
>> Dinner with girl friends and talking about anything and everything because with these people, you can.
>> Friday night dinners at my parents’.
>> Watching our old, homemade family videos at the cottage with my sisters.
> My sweet, sweet pets all of whom are no longer with us.
As I started making this list, I realized that I could go on and on. There is so much beauty in this world, we just have to pay attention to it.
There is also so much pain.
Healing is not about ignoring one of these truths and focusing on the other. It’s about reminding ourselves that this feeling is temporary and that on the other side of it is a whole new world, waiting for us to experience it.