A Post about Pain That Might but Probably Won’t Depress You
I’ve been thinking a lot in recent days about how each of us has our own framework for seeing the world.
My particular framework is as a counselor/life coach. Long before I made this a profession, I acted as one. I have always been the person that people talk to, telling me things they have never told anyone before. It is a role that I do not take lightly – holding space for people and offering advice when needed is how I believe I can help heal the world.
In social work school, we had a choice to choose a macro or a micro track, meaning we could either study systems and policy and ways to have large-scale impact (macro) or we could study how to change the lives of individual people (micro).
I’m about as micro as they get. Macro overwhelms me and makes my brain grumpy. Thinking about things on the individual level is my jam.
So I chose to be a therapist and spend quality time with individuals, one at a time.
And what I have learned from being a therapist is that everyone – everyone, everyone, everyone – has a fair amount of pain stored inside them. Small things, big things, really big things, things, things, things. These things (past life experiences, fear, doubts, and a whole lot of shame) sit in us and cause us to act in certain ways in the world.
We make choices every day based on this pain. Choices about how we see the world, how we treat people, what we do for a living, whether we scream at people in traffic or have a third piece of pie, who we date/marry, have sex with or don’t have sex with, etc.
There is nothing wrong with this, but if we are not consciously noticing what is behind our choices, things can get a little hairy.
Beginning to post on Facebook and share my own life openly has not been the easiest thing, and at many times, it feels self-centered.
But I do it because almost always without fail after I post something, someone reaches out to me to tell me about their own pain. Pain that they have not been able to share with those around them or with Facebook, which very often falsely tells them that other people are not having similar experiences.
But they are.
I am so privileged to have these conversations – they change me for the better and humble me. I love connecting with people on this level.
These conversations also allow me to see behind the curtain – of marriages that look perfect but are far from, of people who post happy pictures but struggle with getting up in the morning, of the very many of us who have debt and feel shame about it, of people who have carried the burden of abuse without telling a single person for many, many years. And on and on.
My heart has become softened because of these experiences. I can no longer look at human interactions in the world or on Facebook in the same way.
What I see, among the yelling and pain and agony, is a whole lot of singular human beings. Individuals who sit in their own frameworks developed through many years of life experiences, pain they have dealt with and pain they have not touched, and a yearning, somewhere inside, to connect.
We are very different and not different at all at the end of the day. For me, the healing will always come from having the courage to share our own experiences and in being willing to sit and listen to others tell us about theirs.
Wishing you all some connection and courage, in whatever form that means for you.