The Ordinariness of Suffering

Your pain is a very ordinary thing. The details that make it up are unique to you, but the pain itself is so very common. Everyone has experienced some variety of trauma or loss and many people carry it around clutched tightly to their chests like a badge of honor. It is as if what we feel will be invalidated by acknowledging how typical it is to feel that way, so we wrap ourselves up in the feeling, in the old story, and guard our experience.

It's only when we pick our stories apart that we begin to see the connections between wounded hearts. My story and pain are mine, but they look an awful lot like so many stories I've heard and so much pain I've witnessed. I won't ever be able to fully understand what it was like for you to experience what you have, but know that I have suffered too, that I am also the walking wounded trying to heal.

Many hearts never get to heal. I have met countless supposed adults who still act like small, sad, hurt children. Some people are so attached to what they've already been through that they keep living it over and over, like continually breaking a bone that is right on the verge of knitting back together. Clinging to the past makes it impossible to grow ourselves up. If we live through our histories, we will never grow up our love or our sense of self. Are you living as a healthy, happy, well adjusted adult? What would that look like if you were? What would you have to let go of to achieve that?

You are welcome to continue to feel isolated in your pain, but know how incredibly normal it is. Healing is on offer if you are willing to do the work to drop your attachment to the past. It's not easy, but you'll be in good company among those who seek to grow themselves up.

The past is past is past. Your pain is not a treasure to guard. Will you let it go?


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