Pain and Love: Lessons Learned
I’m about to get real with y’all. They often say that therapists are “wounded healers.” And I can honestly say I have yet to meet a fellow therapist that didn’t have a story (myself included, of course). But the story of how someone chooses a career path such as this is really a journey from pain to love. It is a journey from brokenness to wholeness. You see, wounded healers are often individuals who have plumbed the depths of darkness; they have stared hopelessness in the face… AND THEN… taken the arduous hike toward the light… toward hope… finding healing and life. Wounded healers know rock bottom; they are intimately acquainted and familiar with pain. But they also know the mountain top and the path upward. And since they have taken the journey, they want to show you the way. So on a personal note, I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned in my own journey as a wounded healer:
I have learned that the pain of heartbreak can literally feel like your physical heart has been ripped in half and is in the preliminary stages of organ failure.
I have learned that emotional pain can start in your heart, but feel as if it is being pumped to every extremity in your body, radiating through in tortured joint and muscle tension.
I have learned that pain can be so suffocating, even breathing is difficult.
I have learned that pain can strip you completely raw, leaving you feeling vulnerable and emotionally naked.
I have learned that pain can become all-consuming; a source and point of all mental focus.
I have learned that pain can birth anger, rage, and hatred.
I have learned that anger can become an empowering addiction, a reveling in justice owed.
I have learned that justice owed can become an excuse for bad behavior, or a justification for revenge.
I have learned that hate keeps you in bondage to the pain of the injustice.
I have learned that the journey from pain to hate actually increases pain; it does not heal it.
I have learned that this path from pain to hate is completely, utterly, a dead end.
I have learned that forgiveness releases.
I have learned that time doesn’t necessarily heal wounds; wounds only heal if you choose to let them go.
I have learned that pain can be transcended, and it is transcended by love.
I have learned that love is actually more powerful than hate.
I have learned that love is worth fighting for; but sometimes loving requires letting go.
I have learned that pain is not always a bad thing.
I have learned that pain can show you who you really are…what you are really made of.
I have learned that who you learn you are can be the single greatest moment of your life; it can be the catalyst for change.
I have learned that the pain of staying the same is sometimes greater than the pain of change.
I have learned that while change can be scary, it is sometimes the only road to sanity.
I have learned that I can’t change others. Only myself.
I have learned that I can’t rely on others for my happiness. That is MY responsibility.
I have learned that I can’t blame others for my choices. Those were MY decisions.
I have learned that I can’t blame myself for others’ choices. Those were THERE decisions.
I have learned that people don’t always care about you as much as you care about them, and that’s ok.
I have learned that in spite of rejection or abandonment, God doesn’t reject or abandon me. And I can overcome it. Every. Single. Time.
I have learned the heavy pain of unregarded, unreturned love; but it is freeing, because it is not hate.
I have learned that I am not alone…even when it feels like it.
I have learned that hurt people hurt people.
I have learned that no matter how horribly someone can treat you, someone treated them worse.
I have learned that pain is all around me. In every face, and every person I encounter. Some hide it, some medicate it, some take it out on others.
I have learned to watch my own words, and the way I treat people. My words and my actions hold great power: the power to heal souls or to break hearts.
I have learned that my pain still doesn’t compare to the pain Jesus faced when he walked death row after betrayal, rejection and abandonment.
I have learned that perfect love really exists; and that it really casts out fear.
I have learned that love is the antidote to pain, to anger, to hate, and to fear.
I have learned that the path from pain to love is also the path to joy and peace.
I have learned the source of love: God.
I have learned how to plug into the source of love: in relationship with God.
I have learned that God is enough… because at certain times in my life… He was all that I had.
I have learned that IN God and WITH God, I can love without limits and without expectations… AND THAT’S FREEDOM!
The journey out of pain is not easy. It does require an authentic look at yourself in the mirror; it does require a pondering of how you got there. It demands an exploration of yourself; an examination of who you are at your core. Sometimes you will journey through your childhood. Sometimes you will investigate your current life. Sometimes you will contemplate all the injustices and wounds that have happened to you. Sometimes you will dig and excavate the hidden darknesses within your own soul that have brought you to certain places of pain. Sometimes it strips you raw and sometimes the journey itself hurts. But sometimes a crooked bone must be broken in order to be reset for proper healing. Ultimately this must be known: THERE IS HOPE! You don’t have to spend the rest of your life in bondage to pain! But I encourage you to ask yourself: which road of pain am I on? Am I journeying the road from pain to hate? (Which I know is an endless loop of pain and essentially a dead end with no exit ramp?) Or am I on the road from pain to love?
Choose today to leave your life of pain. Don’t fear the pain of change. If you are broken the right way, you will heal the right way.