Morris brings up a good point when he asks why I seem to object so much to pain. He makes the point that sometimes it serves him well. Let me try to answer that.
I’m not opposed to pain that gets you somewhere moving forward. And I can see how it can prove to you that you are alive and that you can survive anything.
When I think of pain, I find myself fiercely determined not to do to myself the work of my abusers—in other words, I refuse to hurt myself just to hurt myself. There are certainly times I’m pushing myself hard when I exercise—especially if I’m lifting weights. I do it because I’m determined to be strong enough to protect myself and to be in good enough physical shape to have lots of happy years (after so many unhappy ones).
I’m proud of the fact that growing up I could outride my brothers on the scariest rides at the carnival—because I knew they wanted to see me get sick and there was satisfaction in seeing them get sick instead.
If the pain is a by-product of doing something that makes us stronger and healthier it’s not a bad thing. Pain done for the sake of causing ourselves pain or pain incurred when there is another way to do something, well, that bothers me because it feels too much like accepting we have no choice except to accept pain—something we may have told ourselves while we were being abused. And I’m fiercely against accepting any hurt that isn’t necessary because we do not deserve to be hurt!
If the goal is to feel alive, there are lots of ways to do that other than through pain. If we want to stay grounded in the present, there are lots of ways to do that which can make us laugh and feel happy—it does not have to hurt.
Part of it, I suspect is a gender thing and/or cultural conditioning. Part of it is a refusal, as I said above, to do the work of my abusers for them. Part of it is refusing that cultural conditioning that says we’re supposed to suffer, we’re supposed to be unhappy. If I’m strident about it, well, it’s because I hear so few voices saying this and I know how empowering it is to realize it’s okay to feel good, it’s okay to laugh and be happy.
Wishing all of you whatever helps you grow and move forward and heal and feel strong. Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))) as well,