When people reach out to me for coaching, it’s usually for one or all of these reasons:
#1 Something hurts
#2 Something is frustrating
#3 Something is possible
Today let’s talk about #1 Something hurts.
If you are someone who has been experiencing something painful, like a loss, an unwanted transition, a challenging relationship, or some other unpleasant life circumstance, then this post is for you.
First of all, I am so sorry you are hurting.
I know from experience how painful it is to consider oneself a capable, competent adult, and then ache in a way that makes you feel small, lost, confused, rejected, unwanted, scared, abandoned, betrayed, hopeless, helpless, or any of the other flavors of hurt.
When we are little, often all we need is to be held, heard, and reassured before we go bounding back to our books, blocks, and Big Wheels.
But as we get older, it’s not so easy. Hurt can get alllll the way in. It can take up residence. It will kick back, unpack, and start ordering room service like it has no place else in the world to be.
We wake up in the morning and almost immediately remember specifically what hurts, or just that life is super not fun right now.
If that’s not hard enough, that is just the beginning. First the hurt, then the blame, shame, and despair.
“Everyone else seems to have it together. What’s wrong with me that I don’t?”
“I have done so much inner work/therapy/self-help. Why can’t I get myself out of this?”
“It’s been days/weeks/months/years… Why do I still feel this way?”
During a time when we most require our own understanding, compassion, and love, we pile on abuse.
“I suck.” “I’m flawed.” “I’m a failure.” “Things will never change.”
Why on earth do we treat ourselves this way!!!??
To find an answer, we need to look a little closer at what is going on.
Many of us hold a secret (and false) belief that we’re flawed in some fundamental way. Often, this belief is secret even from ourselves. We create pretty good lives so that usually we forget that beneath the home, the family, the job, the hobbies, or the friends, rumbles some pretty significant fear.
When we get hurt, though, the veil lifts.
We mistakenly interpret whatever happened as proof of our unworthiness, unlovability, or overall inadequacy to live a great life.
But to be clear, we don’t really do this.
We don’t consciously choose to believe we are flawed.
Nor do we consciously spend much of our lives trying to cover this up.
And when life goes a different direction than we’d planned, we don’t mean to interpret this as proof of our inadequacy.
It’s not our fault that we are hurting.
Let me say this another way…
It is not your fault that you are hurting.
It is NOT your fault.
So then what? Is there anything you can do about it?
The answer is YES…sort of.
You can do something revolutionary, and let it be OK that you are hurting. And you can let it take as long as it needs to heal.
Of course you want it to change as quickly as possible. Of course you would do whatever you can to feel better.
But if you’re still reading at this point, it’s because you are the kind of person who has tried.
You have probably tried and tried and tried and tried.
The mind will tell you to hurry up. It will say you should be over this by now. It will offer you a million strategies that should work to fix the problem. It will try by any means necessary, including bullying and abuse, to get you to help yourself.
But all this chatter is actually misdirection. The mind is trying to distract you from the ache itself which desperately needs to be felt, heard, and held.
Usually we want to do anything we can to get away from the pain. Let this be your permission slip to just let it be as it is, until it isn’t.
You got this.
And if you ever trick yourself into believing you are the only one hurting in the way that you are, or for as long as you are, remember, that is total BS.
We may not show it at dinner parties or on social media, but it’s there, vibrating in the background. We are all hurting in our own ways. We are all tending to our fears and caring for our aches.
Even when it feels like not enough, we are all doing our very best. All of us, including you.