the good kind of pain

Something that I’ve been dealing with lately is my tendency to avoid the negative. I hide from stress-causers in my life, I don’t deal with the unpleasant until I can no longer put it off, I end my relationships with negative ppl, and I repress grief and sadness and horror in order to put on my face of “resolute good cheer.” It’s actually what caused that whole mess that I refer to in my first post: I couldn’t deal with something in my past, I repressed all memory of it, and then, because I wasn’t honest with myself, I ended up hurting someone else. The way we hurt ourselves can, in fact, impact others negatively (and if that isn’t the best reason to treat yourself well and to have a healthy approach to life, I don’t know what is).

That quote in the previous post from Karen Armstrong is correct, though: we need to embrace our grief and our pain and the negativity in order to open ourselves to compassion and to become a more whole person. We need to grieve after heartbreak and loss — I never understood ppl who immediately dated someone else after a breakup. Wasn’t that person worth your grief or at least some time of recovery? We need to address the pain caused by failure in order to openly acknowledge our imperfections and to learn to forgive ourselves for our weaknesses. As to myself, I have to stop fearing pain and misfortune and to learn to deal with it, in order to live my life more honestly, to be a stronger person (as opposed to someone who merely pretends to be tough), and to avoid causing anyone pain through my own inability to deal with negative things.

A discussion with Cait recently focused on how sometimes, pain can be a good thing. Not in some sexy BDSM way, mind you (mind out of gutter, please and thanks!), but in that, sometimes, pain causes us to grow to be better ppl, it motivates us to leave our current situation and to reach for more, it teaches us not to repeat prior mistakes… This kind of ties into my post on failure being a good thing. But if we repress this kind of “good pain,” can we ever accept and forgive ourselves fully or ever learn from our mistakes?

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