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Article updated 2018
Have you ever thought, ‘If I can avoid feeling pain, why shouldn’t I?’
Or even thought , ‘Why feel pain if you don’t have to?’
You don’t have to, really. It is our personal choice. In fact, we as humans naturally have a drive to prefer comfort over pain. Most of us in the world spend our lives striving for comfort – physical and emotional comfort, rather than anything more or less.
That’s a great thing, we need periods of comfort in our lives… however, when we become fearless to pain, and perhaps even surrender to it, our lives become just a little more infinite.
Pain serves us in a way that nothing else could.
Disclaimer: if you are frustrated by people who bemoan their pain and problems and act like ‘woe is me’ – I get you.
Those people is not what this article is about. And our annoyance at those people can make us out of balance and out of touch with the people who share pain openly, without trying to be an attention suck.
There’s a difference between these two types of people.
Whilst there are severe pains in our lives that really don’t go away, but instead, possibly get less intense over time (like losing a child, or a parent), there are many reasons why I believe pain is necessary to be felt.
Here are some 10 reasons to choose to feel your pain and share your pain.
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1. Feeling our pain makes us alive.
Anything we do to dull the pain dulls our sensitivity to sensations and then dulls the pleasure on the other side after feeling the pain, too. Ever heard John Mellencamp’s ‘Hurts so Good’?
Yeah. Surrender to your pain and cry and hurt, and somewhere on the other side, even if months later, your body feels good. There’s no choice. The alternative is living like a robot.
I am not certain of the exact scientific mechanism behind this, but I know that our bodies are always trying to keep ourselves to an equilibrium. I know that when we genuinely feel our own pain, at some point, pleasure sets in. It’s physiological.
I’m no scientist… so I can’t offer you a complete peer reviewed research into this, but I say all of this because I have seen so many women vouch for doing so. And of course, I’ve seen and felt the impermanence of pain. When we feel it, it eventually lessens and we get the reward of greater sensitivity to pleasure simply because we were open to pain.
2. Avoidance of pain leads to mediocrity
Because if we don’t let ourselves be open to feeling pain or fear or terror, what we are doing is choosing mediocrity. Mediocrity to me is a constant search for comfort. Comfort is good…but it comes at a big price. A price we usually may not realise we have paid until it is too late.
Think of it like this. You make a new friend whom you really like. And as happens in all good friendships, somewhere down the line, a conflict comes up. And for fear of the discomfort of the risk of losing that new friend, you avoid thinking about and considering how to deal with it and instead you pretend it’s not there.
Of course, what we resist persists…so the underlying conflict comes up again.
Until one day, we’ve spent so long avoiding the discomfort that the friendship is ruined altogether.
What could the alternative have been? Well there could have been a few courses of action depending on your actual circumstance.
One alternative could be considering how to approach the kink in the friendship whilst honouring your feelings as well as your friend’s feelings. And it might have been difficult to go through…but instead of going for comfort and the safety of not opening yourself up to the risk of losing your friend…you get the opportunity to build a deeper connection and stronger friendship and loyalty (leading to an infinite life over a comfortable life).
I’m just saying…the potential outcome is more ecstatic than the mediocrity that comes with avoiding discomfort.
3. Pain brings out your femininity.
Feeling and sharing our pain – it brings out your feminine energy. What do you think about travelling out in to the ocean on a little boat and saying to the ocean; ‘hey dear, stay calm, like you were yesterday? Have you ever tried? No, the ocean doesn’t listen. And neither should you if your feelings are strong enough, they’re strong because they’re demanding to be honoured as a part of who you are, and they demand to be felt.
What we resist, persists. Ever felt like if you started crying, you’d never stop? I think we all know what that feels like…
That happens when we avoid the pain of crying and opening to emotion for too long. It comes out disproportionate to the current situation.
No matter how calm, the ocean always changes its mood. No matter how unforgiving, ruthless and destructive its waves are, the ocean always calms.
This is feminine energy. It’s how it’s meant to be. If we deny our biological changes in feeling in our belly and our chest…it hurts. And we store up so much emotion that by the time we express it, it comes out as abuse to the nearest unsuspecting person, unfortunately – it’s usually the ones we love. Because they are the safest.
4. Surrendering to pain helps you de-stress.
For example: Crying helps to keep you healthy. (Who would have thought?!)
So there you go. Your body is telling you all by itself to feel authentically. Because it needs you to.
5. Pain helps you do the thing that matters – which is emotional growth.
When we try to show we are doing well by thinking positive – to avoid people hating us (or to avoid losing friends) for having pain, we keep the world as it is (status quo). We don’t grow as a person. Growth comes when we have the courage to not endure – endure implies that we suppressed it. But FEEL the pain, be fully alive and receptive to the pain.
And this is a daily practice to be open to pain at various moments in the day, and not to lie to ourselves.
6. Avoiding pain makes us boring.
Because habitually not feeling pain makes us boring.
Those cheery people that you know? The ones who you are fond of but can’t call on when something is upsetting you? Because they feel it’s wrong to acknowledge their own pain – so how can they deal with yours?
They make having trusting, lasting friendships difficult because there’s nothing to relate to; they’ve blocked out all that makes them human.
7. Avoiding pain causes distrust.
Because pushing our pains down and making them wrong makes others feel like they can’t trust us nor be close to us.
This is really simple. If we judge ourselves for having vulnerability (feeling our pain), then we judge it in others because we perceive it as something bad. By judging this in ourselves and others, we are already pushing them away, being less open and acting less like a trustable ‘friend’. This tension will be felt. If someone openly shares a part of themselves and feels like it is being rejected by us, then we run the risk of them not feeling comfortable with us in the future.
When we are more connected to our pain, then it builds trust. Eg; if you tell me everything GOOD about your life, but you won’t share your let downs and your hurts and pains, then I can’t fully trust you. Because you’re not risking anything.
So it’s like this: ‘If you aren’t willing to risk me judging you, if you don’t risk me hating you, if you don’t risk us experiencing relational conflict, I can’t FULLY trust you. I might trust you a little intellectually. But not on a gut level.’
Trust isn’t intellectual. It’s very much felt in our bodies, and sometimes it’s simply a gut level feeling, isn’t it? Tell me if it isn’t true for you.
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8. Sharing pain creates deep bonds.
Because sharing our pain and feeling it openly (without doing it just to hoard attention) creates deeper, stronger and more lasting bonds.
How are strong and close bonds created?
Hint: not in the good times. They are created in the bad times. This article reviews a study that shows that people who were strangers initially began to get closer when they shared vulnerable, not necessarily cheery information with one another. These participants asked each other questions such as ‘when was the last time you cried in front of someone else?’
The participants in a study were contrasted with others who shared ONLY ‘surface’ and ‘factual’ information with one another such as their favourite holiday or TV show. Check out the study if you want.
9. You become more courageous by feeling your pain.
Because feeling our pain is a courageous thing to do, and you can congratulate yourself for allowing yourself to be open rather than closed like so many others out there. It’s a good thing, and it’s something you should be proud of yourself for. Courage is a label I feel we all would like to identify ourselves with.
10. Pain helps us become one with the world.
Feeling pain, our own, and other people’s pain makes us more connected to other humans.
Disconnection from pain means disconnection from humans, animals…the earth – whatever you want to be connected with in your heart.
What do you think is the BIGGEST benefit from feeling your pain? Do you regret not feeling your pain more?
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