Hey there. Are you free? You’ve been through some rough experiences in your life, haven’t you?
I suspect you have… but only because you’re human.
I assure you I’m not intending for my tone to lack compassion… but learning that we ALL have pain could bethe key to our freedom.
We all have a story. We all have experienced hard times—it doesn’t matter who’s hard time was “harder.” It was our own and it was real. For many, the pain is still real right now—it lives in us.
I’ve found that when we attach to our story, we also attach to our pain.
When we let our story become our identity, pain also becomes a part of that identity.
We probably all know people that go about their lives with a chip on their shoulder.
We may do it ourselves, too, but it’s always easier to see it in someone else first. They (or we) may be negative, sad, angry or frustrated all the time. But the truth is, they’re in pain.
When we don’t confront our pain, we take it out on others.
As Brené Brown mentioned in her recent Netflix show (highly recommend if you haven’t already watched), when we don’t acknowledge our own work and vulnerability, we “work our shit out on other people,” because it’s easier to cause pain, than to feel pain.
I try to use pain as an alarm in my body to explore my mind.
Not to judge the pain or push it away—but to be curious about where it’s coming from.
Do I feel someone else has inflicted this pain on me? The story may be true. But can I recognize that in this moment, this person is not causing me any pain—in fact, I am inflicting the pain on myself by attaching to the story.
This is a tough truth to face—but it is ultimately liberating.
Taking responsibility for our pain is freedom.
It doesn’t absolve what happened to you or pardon any person who may have inflicted pain—it doesn’t make the story not true. It doesn’t make the feelings not sad or hard. It doesn’t take the pain away.
But it acknowledges that no one else can take that pain away from you.
Only you can give yourself permission to move through the pain (not around) and to let it go when the time is right.
Notice that I didn’t say to “judge yourself for being in pain like a victim and drop the story, already!”
No—to meet yourself like a friend. To be compassionate about what you’ve gone through. To be free to feel the feelings and let them be there, even though they’re uncomfortable.
THAT is the courage and vulnerability that will free us.
That is what will let us (eventually) detach from the story and decide that we don’t actually need to be in a bad mood. We aren’t actually mad at anyone else. There’s no reason that we can’t be happy—we have everything we need right now inside of us.
I don’t need the story to be a part of my identity, to be free. But only I can make the choice to live that way.
Think about the word “RESPONSIBILITY”—the ability to respond.
Isn’t that freeing? That we all have the ability to choose how we respond to any external circumstance?
And with time and practice (and years of therapy) it’s now getting easier every day to make the choice I want with less fear of vulnerability and failure.
I encourage you to take the next few days and weeks to just notice—are you attaching to a story?
Let feelings and vibrations in the body be an alarm. Instead of avoiding them, be brave and lean into them.
What are they telling you? Where is this coming from? Meet yourself with kindness. That’s how you free yourself.
And when we see other people acting out—can we recognize that they are in pain and find compassion for them, rather than judge? It’s their business, after all, and I don’t need to attach to any story.