We all need it. The undeniable truth is, everyone struggles with something.
The pain we experience from our struggles raises its head in many forms: the loss of a job, divorce, isolation and loneliness, a broken heart, financial woes, betrayal, illness, being the subject of gossip and character assassination, and especially, mourning the death and tragedy of those you love.
Pain is a necessary tool that, when processed and coped with through healthy measures, makes us wiser, more resilient, more relatable and valuable to others, and simply more human.
However, if we trap and conceal our pain, we inevitably repeat a cycle and deteriorate ourselves mentally and emotionally. This self-erosion not only becomes a peril to our own well-being; it also threatens those around us.
How many times have we felt ourselves falling in a downward spiral of negative energy that makes us defensive? It can be a selfish energy that hinders us from freely loving and giving to others. Or it can be a dark, jaded energy that poisons and stains our hearts with so much bitterness, sadness, and hate that we fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s time we realize our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Just as we sustain and fortify our bodies through proper nutrition and exercise, we must nourish and strengthen our mental and emotional wellness through measures like forgiving others, asking for help, becoming educated on mental health awareness, receiving counseling or therapy, and swallowing the pride and faulty thinking that we can manage life all on our own.
Everybody needs somebody. Everybody needs support.
I know this truth as well as anyone. For example, I’ve survived abandonment and abuse, experienced suicide ideation as a teenager, overcome the humiliation of being rejected by a significant other, constantly struggled with being overweight, and continued to ignore the cultural stigma of being a “bridesmaid but never a bride.” I understand pain because I, too, am human.
A healthy state of mind is essential to owning our opportunities and positioning ourselves to see and receive new hope and possibilities. As long as we are breathing, there is always hope!
Here are some healthy measures I’ve taken to cope with pain:
- Cry. This is my immediate response to pain. I cry, scream, and punch pillows when I am alone. Crying is cathartic; it cleanses my heart and facilitates my grieving and emotional healing.
- Confront. I like to journal and write down my sincerest thoughts and feelings—this is therapeutic for me because I get to release my negative energy on paper. Praying also helps, as this allows me to honestly share my pain with my Creator.
- Communicate. This one is hard I know, but so important! I had to learn how to share my feelings with people I trust and respect. A close friend, mentor, or pastor can offer an objective perspective and bring light into otherwise dark places.
- Community service. Performing community service allows me to focus on the needs of others instead of myself. I am actively engaged in non-profit organizations that provide opportunities for me to help others. In addition, I play tennis regularly. The friendships I’ve established on the courts are so supportive of me; plus, I burn a lot of calories in the process.
- Counseling. Yes, I have no shame in laying on the couch. I have received counseling on three different occasions to help me process my feelings of loneliness and career transitions.
- Continue living. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with me to press on. I have to make my own choice to accept reality. And by accepting reality, that doesn’t mean I am okay with it. Acceptance means I recognize the status of my situation and that I cannot change it, and then proceed with mindful intention to make positive, productive choices with my life.
What about you? How do you cope with pain? Please comment below and let’s help one another in our #OYO community because everyone struggles with something. Finally, if you or someone you know needs help and wants more information on mental illness (warning signs, counseling, where to go for help, etc.), please click on this resource: National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Join the discussion 4 Comments
This is an excellent message.
I cope by talking with two very close family members, my mother, dear aunt, reading God’s words and standing on his promises.
Life will always be an up and down journey. That’s why it called “LIFE”.
We can’t walking around in pain, try to control other or put expectations on people. As my grandmother said many times in the past, people are human, will fall or miss the mark. But the lesson is to get up, stay positive to reaching your best potential because it your race and never live your life looking for the acceptance of others.
I believe it highly important to connect to a love one or professional that you sincerely trust, letting them know you are hurt or hurting and not be afraid of what people think about you
I believe the more you talk it out, however many time it take. Your moving in the direction of healing and acceptance.
As I continue to journey, I have learned to be happy regardless of how the situation look and be thankful for what God has provided in my life.
The key is to remember your source God, have compassion for other, live your best life and love the heck out you.
Yes, we must love ourselves first. We must learn to be kind to ourselves, invest in ourselves and forgive ourselves. We can love and serve humanity with compassion when we properly take care of ourselves first. Thanks for your comments, Gina.
How do you cope with pain you ask. I can provide a real time response to this inquiry with several fresh examples. First make physical spiritual mental strengthing a priority and a imperative on a daily basis.. know that they intersect and that they can act as counter weights.. when one is down the other will raise.. example.. for me a walk in the nature park daily for serveral miles and hard strength training builds both physical and mental stamina… secondly focus on longer term goals and objectives… for me I have a ten year horizon.called..The Decade of A Better Me.so ebbs and flows occur but are balanced and even out.as I stay on our Gods driven purpose…next..quit trying to figure out why.. know the reality and accept it..deal with it..that it is what it is..and find an alternative pathway to.success as quickly as possible…still.Everybody needs Somebody or Something.. but you can\\\\\\\’t make someone like you or love you either… don\\\\\\\’t I painfully know that fact… no matter how great you think the degree of alignment or submission.. unfortunately only time not being with another individual heals these deep wounds.in cases of genuine love…next reach into your Sorority or Fraternity tool box.. or elsewhere. poems, songs, of strength and courage..Mother to Son, Invictus, etc.example…I have a favorite speech by President Obama I listen to repeatedly on Sustainable Development Goals that strengthens my mental fortitude..and shapens my focus… next, have a closer walk with people who have earned your trust through their routine engagement and who have demonstrated through direct and routine action a genuine care and concern for you and who make you a priority; fully acknowledge these individuals and allow them access to comfort you as needed; they bring a different perspective and can apply a different set of skills where needed.including a great sense of humor.. also don\\\\\\\’t inadvertently place genuinely caring people in boxes and bins and boundaries with labels; trying to keep them separate; wasting a valuable relationship and mental strengthing oppty .. next…seek a champion who will give you positive and honest feedback.and hold you accountable to complete a task like writing a book or losing.weight..such routine. accountability can be invaluable and mentally stabilizing…example.. the Rev Gerald Durley is one person that serves in this role for me.. always passing notes of uplift…. also practice Self Care.. Self Love…take it seriously.. example I recently developed a twelve point Self Care Protocol that I practice daily.including always keeping my self in positive environments..with supportive people… next find a place of mental refreshment.. example for me it\\\\\\\’s the beach..with it\\\\\\\’s oceans breezes, children playing and high energy family interactions.. engagement it whenever possible….and finally solutions to our unsatisfied life quests that bring pain and suttle mental challenges may be standing right in front of us.. often within our reach but we do not fully engage based on some unfounded fear.which can rob us of a unique lifetime opportunity ..let go of your fear….and lastly people who are close can often sense and detect something is meaningful wrong..and they act in settle ways to try and correct .. example.. like sending a rare morning text with positive content ( or even a bad joke) and keeping you in their thoughts and prayers….Whewww.. exhaling…. pain.. what a unceasing discomfort but manageable driver toward a vibrant healthy life if handled properly
All great mechanisms to confront and cope with pain! Thanks for sharing, Garry.