How have you been feeling lately? Regardless of where you live and work, events in our world impact us all. For as much good as there is in the world, we are also experiencing massive amounts of pain.
Unless you’ve been someplace that has kept you completely isolated, chances are you’ve heard of at least one current world event that affected you emotionally and over which you have no direct control. If you tune in with your body, you’ll most likely find yourself physically impacted also.
You would need to be inhuman or an inanimate object not to be influenced. However, being influenced doesn’t require being incapacitated, nor should it. There are ways we can take our pain, anger, and grief and transform it to something both beautiful and powerful.
We can’t always stop the pain of living. In order to benefit from some of life’s greatest opportunities and joys, we need to both experience pain and move through it.
How can we hurt and still live in a purposeful way?
Begin by understanding we are all connected
It’s natural to feel someone else’s pain because they are part of us. As humans we are intrinsically part of each other and connected to each. Whether you explain this through Quantum Physics and the String Theory or follow Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s research on carbon and magnesium molecules, there is a reason we hurt when there is pain inflicted elsewhere. Understanding our pain is normal can be a huge relief.
Understand that each of us, though connected through humanity, are unique individuals with free choice
We can decide to respond with proactive choice or stay stuck in reactive emotions. Emotions are just a response to an action. From there, we have the wonderful opportunity to choose our next action. So what’s it going to be? Stay in pain or use that pain?
Soothe your soul
Before using that pain when you’re in it, sometimes you need to soothe it. Here are some ways to pick yourself up when it’s necessary to accept that life just hurts.
Limit the media updates
After you’ve gotten your newsfeed, how many alerts notifying you of the same thing within the hour do you need? If you are in a heightened emotional state, limit those feeds.
Join in with your tribe
Find comfort with others. Be with the people with whom you feel safe and loved. Share some warm, close times together and appreciate the good qualities of humanity. Find common ground.
Cry and grieve. Life can be tremendously sad, cruel, and unjust. Tears cleanse. Get it out. Then pick yourself up.
Reinforce your individuality with personal boundaries
Events are impacting you not only because we are connected through humanity but also because they are counter in some way to your beliefs and ideology. The distinction between having compassion for another and empathy is personal boundaries.
Boundaries give us a mechanism that permit us to act when we are in emotional distress. Boundaries allow us to distinguish between someone else’s pain and our own.
Identifying pain as belonging to someone else distances it in a healthy way. It allows us to clarify whether there is any action to take or whether this situation requires just sitting with the pain and feeling it.
Make sure your boundaries are intact so that you can act from a position of strength. You’ll make the greatest impact.
Look for the gift
All experiences in life bring an opportunity and a gift. Consider the bonds forged during terror attacks and peace treaties formed as a result of outrageous injustice. It seems necessary that we, as humans, sometimes need extreme events to bring about change. From the relationships forged to the new paradigms formed, sometimes upheaval is what it takes before a new reality can be created.
Look for the gift in the midst of the pain and it will move you forward to a proactive solution faster. Even if that solution is easing your own soul’s pain. That in itself is a gift.
We can’t remove pain from our life. We can work with it and use it to move us forward. As we choose how to use pain and move on with life, we transform ourselves and grow.
When we move on with life, we are living in the boldest most authentic way possible. We make a statement that above all cruelty, injustice, terror, pain, and heartache, we will continue to shine forward with our purpose and choose love to make whatever difference we can. We can —and do — stop the pain — for ourselves and others.