“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on her own wings. Believe in yourself.” And trust your pain.
No matter what we do, no matter where we hide, no matter how hard we try, we can’t avoid pain.
We can’t mitigate it or prevent it for ourselves or for anyone else.
All throughout our lives we’ll be delivered our own dose of it, in various shapes and sizes, at different times, for different reasons.
Some people will try to numb it out with food, drugs, alcohol, tv, video games, social media, sex, blaming someone else or all of the above. However, they will find out that numbing feelings of pain will also numb feelings of joy.
Others will armour up with a thick shield and turn cold to try and keep the pain out. They will realize they’re instead keeping the pain in and worse- segregating themselves from support.
Whether we’re able to accept it or not, pain will always be there encouraging us to stretch, grow and change forever.
If we choose paths of avoidance, suppression or resistance, then we will suffer and cause more pain.
If we choose to embrace it and adapt to this natural process, only then will we have the opportunity to feel joy again.
The bottom line is, grief will only be released and decreased by walking through it. Thus, we have to be willing to not feel good in order to feel good.
Make no mistake. If we choose to welcome the pain, we will be just as terrified and tender. The difference though, is that allowing our pain to be present and moving forward even though we’re afraid, amplifies our bravery.
Truly accepting that we are going to hurt whether we try or don’t try in life, will allow us to take a lot more leaps of faith towards what we desire or know is right. It will set us free from unrealistic expectations of what it means to be happy and help us strive for personal excellence instead of perfectionism.
Further, making peace with the fact that the ebb and flow of pain and joy will be a lifelong cycle, grants us the courage to feel joy more fully when it’s present and prevent us from spiralling when it isn’t.
I’m not sure life is “easy” for anyone, but we can start to develop a sense of ease within our lives once we commit to putting in the work every single day to heal. We can only heal if we’re brave enough to face and embrace our pain.
Once we’ve healed enough, our pain then offers one of the most beautiful gifts on Earth: our ability to help others through theirs.
I’ve performed on many stages and taught at the front of a lot of classrooms over the last 20 years. However, the abundance of applause and praise I’ve received from those actions is no match for the aliveness and electricity I feel when I’m one on one with someone and have just been able to coach them through a challenge.
Having an audience appreciate you is a beautiful feeling, but I’m not sure there is anything more powerful than the connection that appears when two people open themselves up to giving and receiving their truths in pain and love.
The connection those people feel when they choose to be seen for who they really are and what they really feel is timeless and unbreakable. There’s nothing else that feels more uplifting, inspiring and real to me as sharing vulnerability.
Let me be clear. I have not always been able to express myself as openly as mentioned above with even some of my closest allies. It wasn’t until recent years, after a lot of therapy and personal development that I decided to start showing up in the world embodying my most authentic self.
To be seen by someone else for my imperfections, shame and fears still tears me apart even just thinking about it, regardless of how much that person may love me. However, I refuse to let my fear of rejection outweigh my value of living courageously.
I’ve learned that in order to have the capacity to absorb deeper amounts of love and happiness, my heart first has to break to let more in.
So I when my pain presents itself, I try my best to open my arms and let it tear me apart. I surrender as it wears down the locks and chains I have around my vulnerability to keep the real me hidden from the world.
As I crack open to bare my core, love and empathy are released into my bloodstream, caressing the coward within. It makes her feel protected and brave again, allowing me to stand my ground in my pain and listen without judgement.
It shows me that it is only here to help me see where I need to grow, so I have the chance at becoming the very best version of myself, in ways I never could have predicted. This opportunity to transform reminds me that I am worthy of love, connection and living a good life.
It encourages me to ask for help and lean on those who love me so we can share the weight and lift each other up.
It tells me I’m afraid of being rejected, because I have been rejecting myself. It reminds me the fear of abandonment will dissipate if I can learn to love myself. It reveals that no matter what people, possessions, abilities or roles fall away from my life as it washes over me, the person standing here baring her soul will be everlasting.
It speaks, I listen.
It’s released and I touch heaven.
What better drug than that?
Isn’t that what we’re always after?
A potion we can simply ingest that masks our pain, so we can feel loved, happy and fearless? An instant substance that makes us feel unbarred to be seen for who we are?
The problem is when that potion wears off, all that masked pain comes back and we crave the potion again and again until we’re dependant on it to feel alive and connected.
But what if the magic formula to get these feelings of elation aren’t in a manmade pill?
What if it’s in an action?
To let yourself be seen. Really seen.
What if embracing vulnerability is the potion that sets us all free?
The irony is that you will have to go through the pain yourself to know if what I’m saying is true. My words will only mean so much until you have the courage to trust and accept your struggle. So I’ll leave you with this:
When there’s pain don’t bury, run or hide from it because it will wait inside of you until you show up and embrace it.
Don’t project it onto someone else because you’ll never understand where it’s coming from in you and it will just keep coming.
Let the pain speak to you, because once it’s done talking and it knows you’ve heard it, it will begin to release itself.
Lean on another and let them lift you up. We are all neurobiologically hard wired to need connection from another human from birth to death. It is not a weakness, it is an element of survival and imperative to our healing process.
To be present with your pain is the last thing you want but is exactly what you need. It’s not easy, and it takes patience and practise. However, when you have the courage to accept your pain, it becomes rain to your desert, sunshine to your seeds, birds to your flowers and feathers to your wings.