We often hear that we should push through when something is painful… and to be strong and to be gangster and I totally believe this I am one that lives this through and through and it is something that I think is an example of strength — with exceptions of course.
I also believe that you should face and feel the pain, and not necessarily mask it as we often try to do. We try to repress feelings, and bottle them up inside to try to forget and not feel the pain a problem or circumstance may cause us. However, in order to heal, you should let yourself feel the pain to get over it. In an effort to conceal my pain, I did something a bit extreme, and because of it I learned a valuable lesson in facing things head on.
Because I live my life as someone who is strong or at least believe themselves to be strong, so I fight through pain. ALWAYS. That’s what my tough, strong, role model of a grandma did when raising her 6 children without a husband, in a country that didn’t support independent women. That’s what I know. I have to be strong like my 85 year old grandma who doesn’t let anything phase her. The definition of gangster. The definition of strength.
So, I ignore pain to escape from it. In this leadership program that I took talks about how the way you do one thing is how you do everything. There are exceptions to this rule, but I also believe that there is truth to it. So now the reason I’m bringing this up. I got injured in October and I kept pushing through the pain kept on hiking, running, exercising, and being the energizer bunny that I am, and the pain got pretty excruciating. Did I go to the doctor? Nope. Did I think that it would go away? Yes. Did it return after about a month of feeling better while working out only to be physically unable to move from the pain at the gym, and unable to stand up? Guess again. Yup. At this point I couldn’t sleep from the pain, couldn’t lay from the pain, couldn’t sit from the pain and couldn’t stand from the pain. I was forced to cancel a trip and make my way over to the doctors office. Only to find that I had injured myself so badly that the rest of my body and spine and neck were now injured as well due to the fact that I did not take care of one issue. I suddenly had major issues with my body because the body was doing a great job of overcompensating and avoiding the pain, that my body, just like I had trained it, was running away from the pain causing MORE PAIN.
So what does that tell you? That when you harbor, hide, and run away from pain, it comes back ten times worse. This isn’t just for injuries, this happens in every area of your life. Bottling up emotions puts physical stress on your body, including high blood pressure, increased incidence of diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, people who avoid emotions, especially negative ones, are more likely to experience high anxiety and depression in their lifetime.
You can rid yourself of this by being present with your feelings. When you feel an emotion coming on—whether it’s worthlessness, disappointment, resentment, emptiness, heartbreak, shame, or loneliness—feel it completely. Accept it, and let it pass. As a naturally happy person, one who is very in tune, I used to panic when I felt sad. I used to find that I needed a constant distraction when I felt that “pain.” Until I realized that the pain lingered longer that way. Instead, when I just let the emotion come and greeted it, it would accompany me for a bit, and I’d carry on not trying to fight it, and it would pass like a gust of wind, until it wouldn’t anymore.
I find that this is often how we live life, running/ hiding/ ignoring problems instead of facing them head on. It’s a healthier way to live than to run away from any issues both mental or physical. Face them head on! You’ll be happier because of it. 🙂