The Pleasure and the Pain

There is so much to be said and written about concerning having the courage to be honest with ourselves.  Navigating the path of being present with our own feelings and owning them.  There is so much more to be explored on the topic of staring fear and pain directly in the eye of our own soul and not flinching or closing off to it.  For some this is much easier than for others.  Some of us have been formed and trained from the time we were tiny babies to face reality and to be present with all emotions.  But most of us, if we are honest, would rather not face our fears and pain head on. We have learned over time to close ourselves off from pain and fear.  We text, we skype, we chat, we drink, we smoke, we enter relationships, we exit relationships, we shop, we consume, we eat, we facebook, we do anything we can do in order to stop feeling pain as soon as we recognize it in our life (yes I recognize a run-on sentence when I see one too).  This is what addiction is all about.  Avoiding pain and fear.  Unfortunately, when we minimize the pain in our lives we also minimize the joy and elation as well.  As researcher Brene Brown has so eloquently and poignantly expressed in ‘The Gift of Imperfection’, we cannot mitigate some emotions and stay open to others.  We are either suppressing all of our emotions/feelings or we are embracing all of emotions/feelings.

It is not possible to hide from pain and fear and yet at the same time embrace Joy and Love.  It cannot be done because it doesn’t work that way.  If we want to be filled with Joy and Love, we must be willing to go to our pain and to our fears.  We must beg for the courage to look our pains and fears directly in the eye and not blink.  We must be willing to sit with that pain and fear and grow comfortable with it.

This is not easy.  If you try this and you aren’t used to it, you will quickly feel overwhelmed and have the sensation of a hot white fire rising up deep from within your chest.  You will probably believe that you’re going to have a meltdown.  Maybe you should back off at that point… just for a little while.  Maybe you need to find a good friend or professional to help you through this process.  But we must return to those things that we have shut ourselves off from for so long or they will forever be embedded in us.  We’ll wonder why we do the things that we don’t want to do.  Why we hurt the people we don’t want to hurt.

Acknowledging our pain, sitting with it, and then working through and past the pain is the only way to move forward.  And if this thought makes you sick to your stomach or seems ridiculous to you… you probably have some pain to acknowledge.


“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

Brene Brown

"Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy--the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Brene Brown