You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide: Let’s Talk About Pain!

August 22, 2011 · 30 comments

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*Play this song whilst reading. A post this intense deserves a beautiful sound track, you’ll see why*

To some degree or another, we spend much of our lives subconsciously avoiding pain.

We actively pursue pleasure. We reject or avoid any thing, situation, person or place that appears will bring us face to face with that uncomfortable feeling that we seek to avoid.

I’m not talking about the physical pain of stubbing your foot, cutting your hand or being involved in an auto collision. That sort of pain is explainable, manageable even; with the help of a codeine enthused pill.

Emotional pain…

The type of pain that sees you crying silently. Full of righteous indignation, anger, confusion, sadness, regret; your stomach knotted and twisted with anxiety.

Ahhhh….that sort of pain……

Do you recognise it?

The sort of pain you experience when an experience or person has hurt you. The sort of pain you leave yourself open to; when you’re not in total control of a situation, and you’re reliant on the good-will and integrity of others.

The sort of pain that comes; when your expectations have not been met and your feelings have been hurt at a cellular level. Leaving you distracted, unable to concentrate, eat even. Pain so intense as to feel  physical.

Is there an honest person amongst us who will raise their hand and admit to feeling this sort of pain.

Can I get a witness!

Pain. Shame. Rejection.

Dirty words… right?

Yet if you have a beating heart, at some stage you will surely experience all three. So let’s all be dirty and sullied together….

  • Don’t you think it’s about time we talked about these universally felt, but universally avoided emotions?
  • Don’t you think it’s time to challenge the “I’m ok, your ok” Ideology and got really ‘real’ with each other?

Screw dignity and pride, and looking like you have your shit together…”How are you feeling my friend, how are you really feeling?”.

Yes… own it.  Stop running and hiding from yourself and from others…

Misery loves company…

I’m talking about the sort of pain that can see you befriend a bottle of vodka or your self-medication of choice. The sort of pain that you hide behind puerile conversations with well-meaning friends,where instead of relieving your burden, revealing your humanity and speaking your truth, you hold back and become yet sicker still…..

The sort of pain that can see you on crowded dance floors, looking for affection and acceptance, and finding empty sex and a nasty hangover. Pain seeks to relieve itself in the most deceitful of ways….

Can I get a witness.  Or has the room gone silent?

What do you know; about this kind of pain?

How much of your life have you spent avoiding it.

Never fully revealing your true nature, feelings or desires to the world or simply another, in the fear that they will be rejected and you will be left in pain or made to look a fool?

Or maybe you always stand near the fire exit, ready to make a quick escape. Do you fear pain so much that you never make yourself vulnerable enough to really experience it.  Keeping all things at arms length, ready to bail at the first sign of trouble. Never fully committed to anything or anyone, you take the path of least resistance every time.

You never fully unpack your baggage and your metaphorical backpack is always by the front door..next to your shoes. You’re the master escape artist, the modern day Houdini.

But you’ve never gone all in, legs, arms, heart and lungs. You don’t actually stand for, anything…

There is another way…

Are you willing to sit in this fire as it refines you, and shows you your ugly, needy, lonely, self-seeking, ignorant, arrogant, juvenile and judgemental places?

Are you able to just stand still and let pain wash over and humble you?

Do you know how to endure the growing pains of change. Are you able to bear the huffing, puffing, pushing, resisting and finally the breaking…. as you move through to another layer of self, understanding, acceptance and beauty?

Are you ready for this, or would you rather stay as you are.

Stagnant, half-grown, half-baked and half-alive?

Anything that is not growing is dead…

In the perpetual avoidance of pain, we con ourselves like a card shark running ‘trick of the eye’ games on some seedy side walk. We are not being genuine.

“Keep it happy, keep it level headed, keep it light hearted, we say.”  ”Hide the sadness, hide the madness, hide the fear, the doubt, the insecurities, the turmoil.”

Smile.

Take another drink, another smoke, another pill, pump another weight, buy another t-shirt , pair of shoes,purchase another gadget.

Anything, other than face the fact  that you’re in pain….

Can I challenge you to do something courageous?

The next time you feel slain by the type of pain that we all seek to avoid. The sort of emotional pain that leaves you feeling lost, vulnerable, needy, frightened, confused and weak.

Don’t run, don’t hide, and don’t paint on a false face or a fake smile.

Don’t call a friend, don’t read a book, don’t take a toke, make a joke, or pretend like it’s not happening.

Turn around, dig your feet in, then raise your eyes with confidence and look pain straight in the eye. Tell pain that you are not afraid, that your strong enough to withstand all that it may throw at you. Tell pain  that you except it as legitimate and necessary part of life, not to be avoided, shunned, ignored or denied, but acknowledged and accepted.

Tell pain that you embrace it, and that whilst you don’t like it, you love it none the less, because you love all of you, even the parts that hurt.

Tell pain that you are indestructible, un-deceivable and will not resist it.

Then simply be.

Sit with it, in it and through it. Cry if you need to, scream if you want to…dance if you can…

Resilient in a special place in your spirit; that is in-fatigable and unable to be broken by anything…not even the most painful….pain.

Maybe you will read this and feel me, but not want to contribute, I know ‘I took it there today’… I couldn’t help it. But I would encourage you to share anything you feel in your heart when you have finished reading this. If you think there is any truth in my words, then please share this post with others via Twitter and Facebookand any other way you can think of. I’d appreciate it.

I don’t expect this post to be popular, pain never is, but it was the highest expression of truth I could bring to MLSM today. You have my heart.

Lets start a conversation

It’s all love.xx

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

JQ August 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Pain is just not shareable. I don’t want to share my pain. I also don’t want to be in pain. Life is painful, you’ll spend plenty of time in pain no matter what. I say bring on the bad jokes, the (occasional) bender, etc.

Of course there is some point when you might have to go to the doc. Indestructible as we might hope to be in the face of pain, we are not. Suicide, drug addictions and self destructive coping mechanisms like cutting are all evidence that sometimes the pain we feel is too big for us. Legitimate though pain might be if it impacts our lives severely for too long it becomes a legitimate medical problem.

Pain wins when you stay with it too long and forget there are reasons to want to live. When it is the everything instead of just the contrast.

I’m sorry I never seem to agree with you, or I always come off as contrary. I don’t mean too, I just have the devil in me, y’know.
JQ recently posted..Transferable Skills in Teaching

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Stacey August 22, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Jaque I love that you are the contrarian, you make me examine my perspective and either come out to clarify it,or retreat to take another look. On this occasion I will say pain is SHAREABLE. why is it not? Why should you be able to share you happiness, with others, but have to keep your sadness to yourself.
Should people enjoy you when your at your best, but shun you when you are at your worst? I have no time for these types of people. They are fickle and not being true to themselves, let alone others

Where is the balance that. Pain in so shareable in fact, that I now there was a period of time, where you actively helped me carry some of that pain when you saw the burden of it was to heavy for me to carry. Through your friendship and honesty…you helped me through, and over. I didn’t have to hide how I was feeling for you and make nice..I could just be!!!

I agree that if your pain resides for too long and takes you to self destructive places, you should run like the wind to get help. Because once again, there is no shame in saying that you can’t do it on your own, that this feeling is bigger than you and you need support.

I have been that support both professionally and personally for others for years…yet for the longest time, it never occurred to me that I too was allowed to access that support. Life is not painful. Life is abundant, joyful, and changeable. At times you will feel pain, it’s part of the package, but if you think of life as a painful experience…well…then ultimately it will be. Although I’m processing some pain right now….my life is freaking beautiful. Contradict me any time girl…you know I love your crazy ass.xx

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Adrienne
Twitter: adriennesmith40
August 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm

What! I’m the first commenter on this post? Well okay then.

Stacey my dear… I’m so very sorry you were feeling this kind of pain recently. I’ve been there, done that and have the T-shirt to prove it. It’s not pretty, it’s devastating to be honest with you.

I haven’t felt that kind of pain in 8-1/2 years. Yep, when my Dad passed away. Before that probably another two times total, gut wrenching pain. All of those times I had to seek help to get me through it because it was so raw and hurtful, I couldn’t deal with it on my own. I’m very fortunate to say that it hasn’t crossed paths with me in a number of years and I have a feeling the next time it does will be when I lose my Mom.

There aren’t too many incidents that rock me to my core but they have happened in my lifetime. I think maybe because of my age and my life experiences now, I do handle most of those instances a whole lot better than I ever use to.

You are right though about this one probably not being the most popular post. People would much rather concentrate on happiness and fulfilling their future with nothing but positive thoughts. Hey, I’m all for that. It’s what I do everyday. As a matter of fact, I was feeling pure joy until I read your post only because I could feel your pain.

Whether we like it or not though, it’s inevitable that is will creep back into our existence one way or another. As long as we face it, deal with it and move on we will all be better for it.

Thanks for sharing this with us even if you had to experience something ugly to bring it to us. I sure hope it has passed and you are much better for it now. Hang in there my lovely friend.

Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted..Interview, Guest Post, Podcast, Oh My!

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Stacey August 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Adrienne, this pain I am working through, in some ways it is refining me like no other. I also know it’s not just for me, I not supposed to keep it to myself. I’m supposed to write about it, share it, be brave enough to say ” this is happening to me too”, your not alone. ” You can and you will make it”. Everyone is talking about the happy clappy stuff….but what goes up…must come down right. That is the balance of life!
We tend to go into our caves when were going through our most intense periods of life, hiding ourselves away from others as if we alone IN experiencing such a thing, as if we have the monopoly on pain, lol.
Part of me thinks that is why there are so many emotionally unwell people.
We need to share our experiences with others, not so as to burden them or receive pity, but often in our honesty; we give another person permission to be honest too, and at the end of that honest exchange both parties feel lighter, clearer, better understood.
A problem shared is a problem halved and all that, lol
What I have learnt it that we ALL feel pain, sometimes it’s the type that will lead you to seek professional help, other times you will have to find away to help yourself and emerge a stronger wiser and more compassionate person for it on the other side.

I’m sorry if I put a dampener on your day, but let me reassure you…my heart may be heavy, but my spirit is strong. Thank you for caring.xx

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Gerhard
Twitter: truereach
August 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

“Pain so intense as to feel physical.” Actually pain is always physical. All our thoughts and emotions come along with physical changes in our brain. And what we consider as negative incidentes in our life can induce quite heavy physical reactions. Experiences of pain are ususally quite persistent and may even evoke life long neuronal patterns.

Pain is designed by evolution as a survival system, telling us that something went wrong and forcing us to act in some way. If in the stone age a human who was forced to leave his tribe he was lost. He could hardly survive alone. That’s why he felt hurt and experienced pain – real physical pain. He had to act and to look for a new tribe or to die.

Nowadays we still experience that pain, but our lifes and relationships became complicated and most of the times there are no more easy solutions. Often the only solution is to let time heal the wounds. However as the message of pain is to force us to change circumstances for the better we should look for a helping handle as well. – Thanks for the intense post, Stacey!

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Stacey August 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Thanks for coming in here with this wisdom Gerhard, I really appreciate it. Maybe this also explains why some couples who have been married for a long time, and one spouse dies…then the other spouse dies very soon after, quite often with no explainable reason. Like they died of a broken heart?
Time is a great healer…but even more effective if used wisely. If we use the passage of time quite simply to forget, often we don’t learn the lessons that were meant for us, or take the opportunity for person growth. This sort of time just see’s you repeating the same patterns time and time again.
I like what you say ” The message of pain is to help us change circumstances for the better”. I whole heartedly agree with you

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Bill Dorman August 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Maybe by being a positive person I am naively avoiding pain, but I don’t give it much thought. I have no vices I use to escape it, but I see people who do.

A common theme you will hear from me is to like yourself first, be comfortable w/in your own skin and everything else seems to take care of itself. Do you think that makes sense?

This was very well written and thought out; good job ma’am.
Bill Dorman recently posted..How does your friendship grow?

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Stacey August 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Hey Bill I was sure I had responded to you. but it seams like it didn’t register. I agree that being a positive person is important, and liking yourself …scratch that…loving yourself is paramount. But I don’t think it takes care of everything. Pain is universal, unavoidable…and if your not experiencing it..even to some small degree periodically in throughout your life…I think this is a much of a concern as being in pain, all the time!

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Bill Dorman August 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Trust me, I experience pain and in fact because I’m somewhat sensitive it affects me to the core. I’ve had to put two dogs down in the last 3 months; I cried like a baby for both. My grandmother passed away at 102 yrs old; a full, rich life…..I cried like a baby.

My point was more to the fact of staying positive, keep focused on things that are really important then you can enjoy and appreciate the positives on a deeper level as well. Because of a positive attitude, I think it allows me to bounce back easier.
Bill Dorman recently posted..How does your friendship grow?

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Stacey August 24, 2011 at 2:44 am

Ahh….I wasn’t talking about you perse not experiencing pain…just those people who seam to be immune to any real strong emotions. I’m sorry to hear about your dogs…but it sounds like your grandmother had a great innings…102…what an achievement! I’m with you on maintaining a positive attitude and outlook on life, it does allow us to bounce back a lot faster

Real men cry :-)

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Stan Faryna
Twitter: Faryna
August 24, 2011 at 7:59 am

My heart goes out to you Bill.

I used to have Brazilian filas. Fearsome Dogs.

I was heart-broken when one of the puppies had to be put down. Long story short: a sorry excuse for a human being took one of our puppies and made it the top champion fighting dog in Chicago. When they were busted, the animal protection people called me and wanted to know if I wanted to rehabilitate the dog. I agreed immediately. Unfortunately, they decided that the dog could not handled and they put her down where they found her. Jenny was the sweetest puppy in the world – before she was turned into a killer.

I still get choked up about Jenny and not having the opportunity to bring her home, safe.

My boy, Raphael, had to be put down when I was out of the country. That I couldn’t be there holding him as he went to sleep… well, I still haven’t gotten over that after five years.
Stan Faryna recently posted..Empty-handed and Less Traveled Roads. And other social media DOHs.

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Derek Potocki @ Smart Goals
Twitter: Goalsblogger
August 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Hi Stacey,
Life is pain. But it’s an elephant in the room kind of subject. Everybody knows about it but nobody talks about it directly. That’s one reason, your post rocks, because you are not afraid to talk about anything and your blog becomes even more real.
The problem with talking about emotional pain is that it doesn’t sell. Happiness sells well.
Oh, well, we can’t sell all the time;)
The final thought: Notice the pain, then do your thing anyway. Pain or nothing else can’t get in a way of our dreams.
Greetings,
Derek
Derek Potocki @ Smart Goals recently posted..How to create a perfect, crappy day

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Stacey August 23, 2011 at 10:37 am

Hi Derek, I know pains is an un-sexy topic…not one that people are willing to pay for..I get it. But I won’t ignore it, lol. I’m a stubborn poor fool I guess! Notice the pain and do your thing anyway….my sentiments exactly.Good to see you buddy, how are the plans for Cebu coming along,.xx

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Stan Faryna
Twitter: Faryna
August 23, 2011 at 11:31 am

BRAVA! You pushed it to the edge. I love that. Push it more! Now you have to go in for the killing.

Like @TheJackB would say, you have to wrap your tired hands around the throat of the enemy and squeeze the life out of… fear.

Pain is often not as terrible as we imagine it to be. Ok, I’m not a mommy. [grin] I never gave birth. But we’re talking about emotional pain, right?

I have lost. A thousand times. Or more. And I will lose even again. A thousand times. Or more.

I witness, testify, and give thanks my troubles. Sometimes. [grin]

My next podcast slash blog post might be interesting to you. I think it speaks to these things as much as it does about other things. I can tell you that I didn’t want to share the disappointment and lack of understanding that I struggled with on my recent pilgrimage – it’s not a sharp and decisive cut. I want to bring encouragement and triumph to our moveable feasts. Or at least, as you suggest, a shout of triumph in the midst of the test.
Stan Faryna recently posted..Girls just want to have fun! #fanart

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Stacey August 24, 2011 at 2:41 am

Stan, I didn’t sleep so well the night I pressed publish on this..what will people think ..what will they say. Then I decided I didn’t care..or not that I didn’t care as such…rather that it didn’t matter. The people who this post was made for..those it will resonate with, encourage and reassure that they are not alone…. will get it….

” A shout of triumph in the midst of the test”….yes my friend…yes yes yes
Thanks for being my first witness

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Betsy Cross
Twitter: BetsyKCross
August 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm

How did I miss this Stacey? I’m glad I did because it was TODAY that I really needed it. I was just over at @SandiAmorim’s and felt the same intense, gut-wrenching feelings over there. Incredible. All I can really add to the discussion is that today I had a choice, push the publish button on a new post, or do like my mother admonished, “don’t make people feel uncomfortable.” So I pushed the button. And then I decided to give up on my journey with family history; at least the direction I was headed. Why? Because doing new things leaves me in such an awkward place. And I absolutely hate it. But the alternative is worse. I don’t know how, but I always pull myself up and take another step. The funny thing is that just when I need it the most this kind of post shows up to strengthen me. I don’t need to know where life is taking me, and I don’t expect easy, peaceful sailing. I’m just hoping to become very well acquainted with self-destructive thoughts and feelings so that I can somehow turn them to my advantage by noticing their patterns and how they show up to keep me down.
Thanks Stacey!
Betsy Cross recently posted..Can Family History Be a Way to Honor Our Parents?

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Stacey August 24, 2011 at 2:35 am

Hey there Betsy, I’m going to contact you by email to talk about a few of the things you mention., But well done on pressing the button on the post..making people uncomfortable is not always a bad thing. Comfort zones are overrated! I take it as a massive compliment that you say ” just when you need it, this type of post shows up”. I’m glad it hit the spot. I’m sending your love and enlightenment for your path, ms Betsy.xx

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Jessica Northey August 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Thanks for sharing this! I am going through some really intense pain right now and my heart is just broken. Feel like I got punched in the gut and socked in the face both and the same time.
anyways…I wanted you to know that your post meant something to me and for me.
thanks!
Jessica Northey recently posted..Don’t Should On Yourself

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Stacey August 24, 2011 at 2:26 am

Hey Jessica…my heart goes out to you girl…I’m dealing with a hurting heart too.! “Punched in the guts and socked in the face at the same time”….you describe it so well, lol.
I’m really glad that this post resonated with you, and if nothing else… reassured you that you are not alone in what your going through. Thank you for reading.xx

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Stan Faryna
Twitter: Faryna
August 24, 2011 at 8:11 am

Big hug to you Jessica! Don’t forget you got friends when the ache is deepest.
Stan Faryna recently posted..Empty-handed and Less Traveled Roads. And other social media DOHs.

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rob white August 24, 2011 at 9:10 am

This is a courageous subject to tackle, Stacey. Indeed, I have experienced my fair share of pain in life. I always like to remind myself that we live in a world of polarity and we cannot embrace beauty until we learn to embrace pain. Experiencing some pain is part of life’s curriculum – suffering is optional. There is always a healthy lesson of inspiring insight to gain from pain and struggle. It is evolutions way of prodding us with a Wake Up call. During our times of greatest struggle we become acquainted with the Invincible-Self!
rob white recently posted..Love is a Spontaneous Reaction

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Stacey August 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Hi Rob, I wasn’t feeling very courageous when I wrote it…but it took alot of courage to press publish:-) I’m glad I did….we need to have a discourse on these type of non-easy/listening-reading type of subjects. I agree with you wholeheartedly, that during our times of struggle we become better acquainted with the invincible self..the thing is… so many seek to avoid any struggle, conflict pain…that at some stage growth becomes stunted

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Frank August 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Stacey,

This was real, open, and honest. I commend you for putting this out there for people like me who needed to read it. I am sick of putting on fake pleasentries when in reality I am decaying on the inside. We have got to learn to face our pain and deal with it in a serious fashion that requires change. Change is necessary. Change is hard. The truth is some of the things we fear the most are minor as we face them. This was really, really good. Thanks for this.
Frank recently posted..Improving Productivity with Purpose?

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Stacey August 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Hey Frank, I appreciate you taking the time to read this and see we share similar views. I too am sick of putting on fake pleasantries when reality I’m decaying inside…jeez…when you put it like that,lol! Change is hard and necessary for all of us..it’s unavoidable, but you’ll find some folk who do a real good job of making sure nothing rocks the boat and everything stays the same. If it ain’t growing..it’s dead, I say, and growth =CHANGE. Thanks for your input

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Janet August 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Great post and I’m glad I found your blog (you commented on mine)! I’ve felt this mostly through breakups but I allow myself to feel the pain, go through the motions, realize it is only a phase, and this too shall pass. Meditation helps! Another upside is that pain can actually be a motivator for creativity. My muse came out when pain was near, and it helped me get through it and be resilient (because I am). The “tortured” artist is a stereotype that we must suffer or go crazy to be a genius in art. I’m still unsure what to think about it, because I believe that it’s possible to be creative, and functional without also being self destructive… And I would advocate this over the self-destructive kind.. but I suppose there is an ounce of truth to it!
Janet recently posted..What a Taxi Driver Taught Me About Business or: Why Passion Matters

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Stacey August 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Hey Janet, great to see you. Are you also in the Dynamite Circle. I recently joined this and am looking forward to slowly getting more involved with that community. Break ups….jeez….tell me about em, lol. But pain does not have to be destructive you’re right. In fact if taken the right way, pain can cause us to be refined in a way, that see’s something great come out of something sucky! I love what you are doing with both your blog. your project and doing you…by any means necessary! This was a brave brave step to take..I salute you.
Nuff respect and glad you got your computer back. Thanks for sharing your insights, I’m trying to get a bit more dedicated with meditation, but really struggling with that

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Peppy | The PeppyWrites Chronicles
Twitter: peptalks2
August 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Hello Stacy,

Another article that not only opens the eyes but opens the heart … or, hopefully, does so. You express raw emotion in an eloquent manner – you make the pain almost palpable yet we must keep reading to see what conclusion you have come to regarding pain!

Stacy, you make the point that a psychologist made in a recent article on emotional pain. As you pointed out, we must face it .. we have to stop being afraid of our emotional pain in order to move forward in our life.

The fact that you freely “put your pain put there” speaks to the courageous woman you are and it’s refreshing that you want to learn from your pain, from your life experiences, instead of wallowing in misery and bitterness … something so often seen because it truly is the easier route.

I hope you keep staring down the pain while keeping your face to the sunshine!

Peppy
Peppy | The PeppyWrites Chronicles recently posted..“Home is Where… is WHAT … the Heart Is”

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Stacey August 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I will keep staring down that pain peppy, and I hope you will join me in doing so. I put my pain out there because I think these common emotions are things that unite us, pain is something we all have some experience off and we can’t really avoid it, so why not share it I say!. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts Peppy, I appreciate your well articulated input. Thank you.xx

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Jimmy/Life Architect September 8, 2011 at 4:58 am

Hi Stacey,

I am new here.

Sadly I can be good at hiding pain, and for that matter many other negative emotions like anger. My introvert self does not help. Recently, I think I have popped a few times like a dormant volcano due to suppressed feelings. But guess what, I am slowly getting the grips to letting negative emotions go by meditating journaling and so on. Today, I would say that I am a better self.

Do you have any tips to deal with negative emotions?

Cheers
Jimmy/Life Architect recently posted..The Greatest Gift for My Birthday

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