One of the many things I learned from my father’s death in 2009 was the necessity of letting yourself feel your pain.
The natural reaction we have when we experience deep hurt is to run from it. It’s not easy to deal with, so we suppress it, run from it, try to forget about, or do whatever else so it takes so that we don’t have to feel our pain.
I remember the countless conversations I had with people after my Dad died and being so surprised at the people who still had so much bitterness and hurt towards things that had happened to them over 10 to 15 years ago. Thankfully, I quickly learned an important lesson when it came to dealing with pain: you can’t run from it.
What running does
At one point or another, you have to face your pain. Like anything that is difficult in life, we want to avoid it because that is much easier to do. What I learned is that you will have to deal with it at some point, and dealing with it later is much more difficult than dealing with it now.
I remember being so surprised by the amount of people who were still so devastated about things that had happened so many years before. I’m not saying that you can’t still be affected by it, but I could tell something wasn’t right when they felt the same way as I did, and their painful experience had happened over 10 years before.
I saw rather quickly that those who were still dealing so bitterly with their pain were doing so because they never actually faced their pain. They never allowed themselves to feel their pain and to process their pain. Because of that, they were still dealing with it. They thought they could avoid it but they couldn’t, and no one can.
What you must do
The more I talk to people, the more I believe this to be one of the most important, and most neglected, part of the healing process.
You have to let yourself feel your pain.
If you don’t it will slowly eat at you until you do.
I’m always unsure of how to word this to people because I don’t want them to think I’m no longer affected or that I never become sad that my father isn’t here anymore, because I still have to deal with it, but I will say this:
I believe that I am as ok and as healed as someone could be in my situation. I’m not constantly devastated by what happened and I can talk openly and honestly about what I went through with others without bitterness or deep pain resurfacing.
These are some ways I processed and felt my pain:
1) I talked about it with those close to me.
I didn’t pretend like I wasn’t hurt. Talking through my thoughts was one of the most therapeutic things I did.
2) I allowed myself to feel my pain.
I didn’t pretend like it wasn’t there. I took time to weep, to pray, and to hurt. This was extremely hard, but it helped me insurmountably to move forward.
3) I forgave
This took me the longest to do, but it is the only way to gain closure. You do not have much of an option if something was done to you that caused you pain. If you don’t forgive, you’ll hold resentment and bitterness which only hurts you more. Like the other two, forgiveness isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Anything worthwhile in life does not come easy, and healing from you pain is no different.
You can’t run from you pain, you can only prolong it. Facing your pain may be the hardest thing you have ever done, perhaps because you have never done it.
Thankfully, we don’t have to face it alone. We have a God who knows our pain and wants to walk through it with us. His name is Jesus.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.