Pain is a funny thing. Scientifically, it is merely the release of certain chemicals in your body as a reaction to something. When you feel this after hours of arduous workout, it is the good kind of pain. The kind we are encouraged to feel. When you feel the same sensation after a break-up, God save you. Granted, we are not talking about the same kind of pain, this is an over-simplification of sorts. But you still describe them the same. As pain. As an unbearable feeling, that rips you apart. So what is this, really?
I have found myself to be an active seeker of pain in many occasions. Both in good ways, and bad. I firmly believe in the good effects of pain. Work really hard, feel the pressure, do your best. You’ve not really done something to your satisfaction until you’ve bled a little. If the job in front of you is not making you push and crawl, you are probably not doing it right. A workout is done right only when you start feeling the burn. This physical pain is a constant reminder that the best is yet to come. Push yourself a little further, stretch a little father, a better version of you is ahead.
In the same vein, I find myself seeking emotional pain. Searching, crawling, seeking, falling, stumbling, and ultimately picking up my pieces, all over again. My life sometimes feels a lot like riding a wave. The same wave, but in different places. I sift through various sets of people in my life, who are really the same. No matter where you go, how far you travel, the gamut of human emotions remain the same. No one is any different. So, the pain is inevitable.
So how does this work? Do we choose to get hurt? So that we can feel the pain. Or is it that humans are designed to disappoint and you just have to get used to it? Is emotional pain an unavoidable consequence of being alive? Yes, unrequited love hurts. But so does love returned in equal measure. Failure hurts. So does the travails of maintaining success. Humiliation hurts. So does the pressures of being a star performer. Is there any tangible way to avoid pain in a way that insulates you?
I’m too caught up in my own web of pain and confusion to really figure that out. But I would imagine that the answer is negative. There is no way to walk away from pain. There is no way to isolate yourself from it for any period of time. But like everything else in life, you can probably learn to manage it. You can make yourself strong enough to not allow everyone the privilege of getting under your skin. Failed love, unfulfilled dreams, incomplete companionships, dribbling success, resounding disappointments. No. Let none of it ever get to your inner space. Keep a part of you that is truly YOU. That no one else truly knows. Present that part of you to only the ones who have earned it. Who will understand the gravity of what you are making them privy to, and respect you for it.
Build a vision for yourself. Chase it every day. Among the many things that distract you from doing this, Pain will be foremost. When that happens, ask yourself this. Will addressing this pain today make it easier for me to reach my vision later? If the answer is yes, go on, feel that pain. And then do something about it. But as long as the answer is no, don’t allow that pain into your space. Don’t allow yourself to feel baggage that is not yours. Be surgical and precise in how you remove that pain from your life. Insulate yourself. Keep yourself within the warm glow of your own affection. The world is a harsh place. And it just wants you to give. And give. But claw your way through, nonetheless. And find yourself.