Last week, I wrote about the importance of sitting with pain and fear. In writing this piece I wanted to give others hope for how to sit in our own discomfort to live a life of joy. As I reflected on my writing, I realized that I have referenced, but not fully stated, that there is a type of pain you should not walk through, sit with, or allow. Today I’d like to write about this pain.
Self-Love & External Love
The type of pain and the fear that follows (the second one written about in Untamed) is pain other people are afflicting on you and me. In writing about walking through pain, I meant walking through your own emotions, honoring them, and making sure to nurture emotional pain so you can heal. What I did not mean is that you are responsible for walking through pain that is caused by another person. We are not responsible for the pain others inflict. Walk away from these people. Really.
So often we feel that it is our responsibility to make other people happy. We also feel it’s other people’s responsibility to make us happy. Just name any relationship you have and I bet you have a narrative about the value you want this relationship to add to your life. When we enter a relationship with another person and assign a label to this relationship we have a subconscious (and sometimes conscious) belief about exactly what that value is and what we will gain. This occurs in all relationships from family and friendships to work. Romantic relationships bear the brunt of this because we’ve been submerged as a society with the message that true love and a happy marriage are what complete us all. In my undergraduate degree, I vividly remember that over 90% of Americans listed getting married as a goal. At the same time, 50% of American marriages end in divorce.
When surveyed about why Americans want to be married studies found it is because we are looking for love. However, relationships don’t define our worth. We have to do that on our own. When we believe that our worth is out there somewhere in the world, we are unable to speak our true needs, honor our boundaries, and cultivate the type of people we truly want to spend our time with. Self-love is the ice cream sundae, external love is the cherry on top. Both are delicious and meant to enjoy, but one has a little more substance.
Leaving the Pain Others Inflict
This leads me back to my original point of talking about the pain others afflict on us. You see, when we believe our worth is out there we get majorly affected by minor things. Small things like when another person is rude and treats us badly at the store. Larger things, like an intimate partner abusing us, become even more of an issue when we are constantly searching for external love. All this to prove we are good. To prove we have worth. I have walked this path my whole life in different ways. I have also chosen to leave this path and see freedom shining in the sky for me. I want this freedom for you too.
You see, as an empath, I’ve been confused my entire life. When another person brought me pain, anything from name-calling, a fight with a friend, someone in a bad mood, I thought it was my job to deal with it. This went all the way up to domestic violence. Yet the whole time I thought “I can sit in this pain. I can help this person heal, even though this really doesn’t have anything to do with me.” As domestic violence came for me I learned in an extreme way how damaging my own behavior was. While I may be strong enough to swallow the pain of the world to birth joy, the labor would be intense. It is not mine to swallow.
When another person is lashing out in pain toward you or with the intention to hurt you, it is not your responsibility to swallow their pain. Or sit in their pain. Or heal their pain. It’s your responsibility to get out.
Learn from Your Pain
We are all human. We are all going to do things to royally fuck it up with the people we love. Yet so long as we are not OK with hurting other people, apologies honor our humanness. The most sincere apology is changing behaviors that hurt the people you love. These apologies and (eventually) changes tell the other person we know we messed up and allow us to offer ourselves compassion. However, if you are in an abusive relationship or any interaction with someone who does not own the hurt they have brought to you, you owe them nothing. This is not the pain I want you to sit in. I want you to set a boundary and leave this person; these people. I want you to leave before you choose to meet hate with hate and instead lean into love.
My darling ones. Sitting with the pain of your emotions is essential to your healing. Wounds that aren’t properly healed will leave scars to remind you your entire life they are there. First quietly, then loudly. You deserve to spend time with your pain, nurture it, honor it, and give your soul what it deserves. Staying in relationships when others push your boundaries, cause harm, hurt your feelings without remorse, or are abusive is not pain you need to stay in. You can leave any friend or family member that is nasty to you. You can walk away from anyone at the store giving you an attitude. You can change lanes when that driver behind you is up your ass. You can say loudly and clearly, “I decide my worth and how I am going to be treated.” You get to decide for yourself how you are going to live your life. We only get one wild and precious one.
Dip into the cool ice cream of your soul and enjoy. Know you are worth the life you want. Know it is never OK for another person to hurt you. If they can’t say sorry, you need to say “bye.”