HOLDING ON.

 

Pain isn’t supposed to last eternally. Or is it? If it is, what kind of pain are we talking about, respectfully? But again, what do I know? I guess I only know about my own pain. Yet, something deep within my soul tells me we are not supposed to stay in pain. No one is. Pain isn’t supposed to last eternally, nothing ever does. Life is made of cycles, peaks and valleys, ups and downs, right? Pain is part of that generalization, just like everything else.

As time goes by, I am not conflicted at all on how to deal with pain. Well, I used to be conflicted when I was younger because I believe I didn’t understand pain and its effects. Today, after many instances of being hurt by different circumstances, I frankly try not to hold on to pain. It brings me nothing but a bad mood and a grumpy face. Besides, I clearly remember the most recent ones but the old ones, are starting to fade away. I am not losing my memory, but they just don’t matter anymore. I even wonder if they ever mattered now!

Personally, I see nothing noble in being in pain most of the time or wanting to keep feeling pain or wanting to hold onto that forsaken pain, whatever it might be. How is that helping me? How is it helping my growth, my evolution as a man and a human being? In the end, it isn’t. I don’t see how that can be helpful. Sometimes we hold on to pain unknowingly, because we haven’t dealt with the situation perhaps. Holding on to pain intentionally, well, that isn’t wise. Nothing could ever be more dangerous.

Now, to be clear, there is the kind of pain that one can let go and the pain that never leaves. On one hand, there is what I consider (and we could all consider) immense and intense pain, the kind that stays with a person all their life. On the other, there is the kind of pain we all usually get over or are supposed to get over with time. I would call the latter “mild pain”.

What is immense pain? I’d say sexual assault, rape, losing your whole family in a war or during a genocide, famine, war, growing up in intense poverty, physical abuse, losing a child, having a disease that cripples the body and mind and so much more. The list isn’t exhaustive. I am talking about something that causes intense psychological and emotional pain, something that could drive a person mad, something that could very easily cause PTSD, something that could drive someone to therapy. That is what I call intense pain.

Now, what is mild pain? It could be anything from breakups, losing a job, literally breaking a leg, being betrayed by a friend, etc. I consider those mild pains because I have been through most of them and I am pretty much unscathed. Yet, my list of mildly painful situations could very well be interpreted as intense pain by other individuals.

I guess pain is relative. Pain is subjective, even if said subjectivity has its limits: if someone were to cut your ear off, there wouldn’t be any subjectivity into that fucking pain! Some things hurt every single person, no exceptions. The reality is we don’t experience pain the same way; we don’t interpret it the same way either. We have different thresholds of pain. Let’s not forget that pain is a feeling. It isn’t rational, it cannot be measured. It is abstract and profoundly concrete.

They say that whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I partially agree. I cannot fully agree. There are instances where the pain and sorrow are so intense, the mind and body become unresponsive, and in few instances, the pain can out right kill you. We have seen cases of parents grieving until they die after losing a child. It isn’t uncommon. Unfortunately, it happens.

Sometimes, the pain destroys you. There is no shame related to such extreme situations. We are fragile beings, more fragile and frailer than we care to admit. Pain will destroy anyone, if it stays there and festers, the way an infection does.

Moreover, the expression “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, is misunderstood, in my humble opinion. Yes, you didn’t die, and you became stronger. You prevailed the way heroes do in movies and congratulations. However, how do you know you won’t die if or when, it happens again? The mind is like the body. When pushed to the maximum, it snaps. Certain great athletes injure themselves while doing the same exercise for the 1000th time. Wear and tear will do that to a well-trained body. Same goes for the mind. When pushed, it can go haywire and chaos follows. Do not overestimate what the mind can take. That is a dangerous game. What doesn’t kill you now, might kill you later.

I see people walking around, wearing their pain on their sleeve, like a badge of honor and I swear I get it. They see themselves as survivors and might even consider themselves the fittest of the pack, the way Darwin talked about evolution. Frankly, it is a badge of honor. Going through difficult obstacles deserves a badge of honor. It is until it isn’t. No one is bulletproof. Yet, some people act like they are. Moreover, the internal pain, the one we can’t seem to let go, does its work slowly but surely. It sits silently most of the time, playing the long game, knowing that once it has infected the mind, body and soul, it will win. Pain is like that. It is a virus, a dormant virus that takes time to be activated but when it is…Mayhem ensues unfortunately.

Pain shouldn’t stay with us forever. Pain should decrease in intensity with time. Once again, I don’t have the answers related to alleviating pain. I am no psychiatrist nor am I a psychologist. I have more questions than I have answers, as usual! I just know that holding on to pain, (especially if done with intent) is never a good idea. If you cannot shake it off, I get it. That is when therapy and help come into play. But if you don’t want to let go because it gives you meaning, then you will destroy yourself. Existing out of anger and pain can only be a temporary situation, not a long term and healthy way of life.

Pain isn’t supposed to last eternally, nor can it disappear completely. Quite the conundrum, wouldn’t you say? Pain can motivate us to do great things, to become great. They say without great pain, there wouldn’t be great art. Maybe they are right.

Yet, I’d rather be happy and an average artist instead of being a wounded but amazing artist. The same logic applies to my philosophy as a human being. There is no honor in holding on intentionally to pain. In the end, there is only pain.

Please choose happiness over pain. Happiness has more value than pain, always.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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