Pssst…did you know you can listen to this as well? Simply click the play button above.
“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”
– Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
I’ve heard many times as a helping professional, “How many sessions do I need with you?” or “How long will it take me to get better?” To be honest, that’s always a red-flag. When I hear these questions I know the well-meaning potential client wants me to fix them. Wants me to do some voodoo magic where I take away their pain so they can skip into the sunset and feel immune to the pain of the world.
And the obvious truth is: I can’t. No one can.
I don’t care how much you want happiness, success, a kick-ass life… you still have to walk through the suffering of your life. And you can take that knowledge and use it as an “out” to not look at it, to feel ridiculously sorry for yourself, to blame everyone else for your suffering, numb it all out so you don’t feel it OR…
You can know that the suffering parts suck and you want it to end, and you can know that it will pass. If you keep moving through it, talk to people you trust with your story, and try your damndest to love yourself along the way, I promise you it will pass.
I was working in an office when my husband left me for another woman, started a family with her and I went through my divorce. There were days when I would run to the bathroom several times to the farthest corner in the farthest stall to cry. I’d have screaming fights with him on the phone in the parking lot. I got served divorce papers at work in front of my co-workers. It all sucked. So. Bad. I had the Winston Churchill quote pinned to wall next to my desk, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Every day I would wake up and and in those first half lucid moments feel the dread that what was happening was actually my reality, and not a dream. Every step was difficult, every hour was painful.
I drank, shopped, starved myself, and distracted myself with men through the whole ordeal. And when that came crashing down– when that didn’t work to save me from the pain, I had to face it. And I won’t lie, it was horrible. I asked my therapist, “How long will it take me to get over this, because I want to start now”. And she said, “I don’t know. No one knows.”
With one foot in front of another, I essentially did what Cheryl Strayed said. I endured it and lived through it, and moved on and am better for it. And I built that bridge on my own desire to heal because I was so fucking tired of looking to someone else, or something else to save me. Only I could. And only you can save yourself and heal yourself from your pain.
What helps is not numbing it all away (what I found to to be true is that it never goes away. DAMMIT! It’s true. And when you stop numbing you kind of have to start from the beginning of the pain). What also helps is having people you trust to hold you up when you fall down. And leaning into vulnerability and all that other stuff I talk about in other posts, but I just wanted you to know that you are powerful beyond measure to endure pain and move through it. We, as humans, are so incredibly resilient.
So, if you’re going through the weeds, keep going. One foot in front of another. Keep going.
My free e-book, 21 Tips and Tools for a Kick-Ass Life: No Bullshit Included is going away forever because we have a new website coming! If you don’t have it, click here to download it.