(Soul) Pain is the Greatest Teacher. Two questions to ask!

Soul Pain

We know that soul pain exists in all shapes and forms and inevitably reaches everyone you have and will ever meet. So, we all know what pain feels like, and we all can agree it doesn’t feel very nice. It doesn’t matter if it’s physical, emotional, mental, social, or at the level of the soul; to feel pain can be pretty distressing for the body, mind, and spirit. Nonetheless, pain always has a higher purpose. Every pain that enters our lives teaches us something, a lesson, and a new perspective.

After passing through an excruciating period of pain in my soul, today, I can see what a blessing that heavy period actually was. I needed it to significantly change myself and my surroundings and create the life I’m happily living today. Thanks to that experience, my relationship with pain changed. Because even if it can feel pretty devastating, now I know pain is the most prominent teacher of all.

So let me open up and tell you a little more about that time of my life and why today, when the pain arrives at my door, I invited in and asked it to show me the way.

A confusing place.

Like many of you, I was a generally happy person, but I was perplexed. I didn’t know much about self-love. For years I did not listen to my needs and completely disconnected from my true self and personal needs. I thought happiness was about pleasing others– or at least what I thought was expected from me. And this constant seeking for approval led me to be in a hustle state every day while feeding an inflated ego. 

In the middle of my confusion, my beliefs came from building a life according to what society told me what success meant. According to my culture, this made me create what some call a “pin-up girl” and a version of the “ideal woman” (As if it ever existed, that’s lame!). 

I spent years living a very intense life, believing that I was always behind and comparing myself (and my life) to everyone around me. All I was growing inside me was colossal insecurity. For years, I was trapped in eating disorders, insomnia, panic attacks, substance abuse, and years in an unhealthy codependence romantic relationship. Loo, king back, I realize the enormous power I gave us for so long.

I lost it all.

Long story short, the image I worked to create for so many years was completely destroyed. I lost my (first) marriage, the house I was living in, and the company I made with him all at once! All this while dealing with a very unhealthy and extra nasty breakup and social mess-up. I think if I started describing how I felt, then I would never finish this post. In simple words, I saw the world as wholly hostile, and I just got paralyzed.

Having all kinds of questions, fears, and so much insecurity and confusion, I started to dig a hole and kept myself in the darkness. I barely could find the motivation to live every day, and my focus was only on the pain, and it was tearing me apart. Anxiety became an everyday thing. I found myself completely lost, and I didn’t even know where or how to start to heal. 

The surrender.

Surrounding your pain is everything. It is the first start of your true healing process. Back then, I started writing my thoughts about the pain I was feeling. (I still read them today; they are solid, raw, dark, and full of curiosity and love, and I love to have them). Expressing my feelings in the paper helped me release the accumulated pain I had inside me. 

I also began to go outside a little more to watch the sunset, the sunrise, the wind, and the birds, and it started, day by day, to feel like I was connecting with something. And I got a little better, but I still held my pain (and my ego) pretty firm. After many weeks of suffering in the hole, one particular day, I finally surrendered. 

For the first time in a very long time, instead of resisting or trying to change my situation, I opened my arms wide open to it and called it my teacher. I surrendered to the pain I was feeling and the problem I was living in, letting the pain show me the way and the path I must follow. 

I remember opening my arm and heart to it like it was yesterday. It took place in the backyard of my parent’s house, and I cried so much, but for the first time, I wasn’t suffering, but I was humble towards it. 

At that moment, I surrendered to what it was and not what I wanted to be; I gave my whole of myself to God. Ahhh (I sigh with relief). I felt something magical immediately. God spoke to me and sat beside me, and then I knew I was prepared for healing and transformation.

The healing.

Slowly, I began to work on myself. I did all kinds of things to heal my broken soul, signing up for every possible healing event, from spiritual approaches to a psychologist, codependency anonymous groups, yoga and meditation classes, PNL, coaching, and healing retreats. Dang! It was a long and monumental work. It’s not easy, not all beautiful, but it’s necessary. 

Of everything I learned, Soul Pain is the best teacher (if you allow it to be). When you sit down with your pain and allow it to show you things, pain in your soul cracks you open and teaches you to feel again. It will enable you to mask off the real you have never dared to show. It helps you recognize that you are human, made of bones and flesh, equal to anybody else (including your worst enemies). 

Pain in your soul makes you vulnerable and open. It shows you your own darkness. And that’s precisely why pain teaches you about compassion, humility, forgiveness, and love for yourself and everybody else. 

If you allow it, pain makes you vulnerable and open. It shows you your darkness, which is necessary for a fundamental transformation. 

Pain helps you grow by showing you what you are made of and empowers you to move to another place that might serve you better.

Embracing the soul pain.

Two years have passed since the event, and I have learned so much about myself and my own darkness just by allowing myself to feel the pain. What I do now is instead of trying to avoid the risk of discomfort, I do quite the opposite, and I create a space of awareness to receive it. For that, I sit silently (in a peaceful and comfortable place, generally under a tree), relax my body and mind with slow breathing, and close my eyes. Once I feel ready, then I invite the uncomfortableness (the pain) and ask two questions:

  1. What is the emotion I’m feeling? (Jealousy, anger, disappointment, sadness, emptiness, loneliness, despair, etc.) And I let myself really feel it. I notice where it presents itself in the body. I asked myself how I was feeling. And then I tell myself this is a secure space for this, no judgment, just letting it sit with me and keep me company. 
  2. I ask myself where this feeling is coming from. And I notice.

When you create this space to notice things, you can see the root of your pain more clearly. By creating awareness, you have more information about yourself. And all these are a ton of inner gains because clarity is powermy dear friend!

To finalize this post, I want to quote this beautiful poem by Dalla Hicks-Wilson:

(Day eight)

Sit with your pain.

Hold its hand.

It is as scared

as you are.

What do you think about that? Would you be willing to try it?

With love and gratitude,

Pia

Ps. Here is a beautiful printable bedtime gratitude journal I prepared to help you feel grateful and appreciate all the good things going your way. Gratitude is the antidote for depression and anger.

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