“Pain is Inevitable; Suffering is Optional”
I was having a really great conversation with a girlfriend last night about feeling hesitant about getting back out there because she didn’t want to open herself to getting hurt again. It made me think of the lenghts we go as humans to protect ourselves from pain.
When I think of all the ways I’ve tried to protect myself from getting hurt its pretty amazing. Whether its shutting down and putting walls around myself and my heart, trying to be controlling or manipulating, projecting on to others, using sarcasm, blaming/shaming others instead of looking at my own faults, not dating/rejecting, dating but not looking for anything serious, dating and looking for something serious but choosing partners who obviously aren’t ready, supporting the crap out of someone else and not accepting support myself…I mean, the list goes on.
Its as though we spend all of this amazing energy afforded to us by our imaginations literally imagining the worst possible scenarios based on the pain from our pasts. Why do we let the past build out the frame work for our future? Why is it so hard sometimes to live in the possibility that something might actually go right? How many times do we cut ourselves off from joy or connection without even realizing it?
I’m starting to realize we can’t actually protect ourselves from getting hurt, its more of a fact of seeing that we are all human and we are inevitably going to hurt each other. I mean, even the most well intentioned, enlightened souls on this planet are going to fuck up. We are going to make mistakes, we are going to say the wrong thing, we are going to take things personally, we are going to project our shit on to each other, its all part of how we are learning. But what would happen if we put more of our energy into focusing on the tools to deal with what happens after we feel hurt. I mean when it rains, you don’t try to stop the rain, you just get out your umbrella. We might complain about it, but we know rain is a part of life so we don’t waste a bunch of energy trying to fight it, we adapt and move on.
What if we could communicate honestly and openly with each other about how we feel? What if we created space for each other to explore our reactions without judgement? What if we could not make everything about us and acknowledge when our wounds appear, even if its messy and we don’t quite understand why yet?
So instead of commuting myself to the avoidance of pain, I want to commit myself to the exploration of what message my pain has for me, because I have a feeling if I’m willing to listen, these things will pass and it won’t seem so scary anymore, hell, we might even get a rainbow out of it! When we avoid feeling our pain, we are in essence, avoiding ourselves. And the most worthwhile parts of us to see are the ones that make us feel most uncomfortable.