The Importance of Sitting In Your Pain
There’s probably a million memes that can express the look I had on my face a few weeks ago when my best friend revealed that she had recently gotten back with her ex for the fifty-eleventh time. “It was my birthday,” she said. “I was lonely,” she said. “This time he’s really changed,” she said. Of course it only took a few weeks until she was kicking him out and crying after going through his phone and seeing all the “Good morning,” and “I miss you,” texts not just to another girl, but the SAME girl he’s always cheated on her with. I didn’t tell her I told her so, but round 10 of their break-up, make-up cycle did remind me of the importance of sitting in your pain.
Look, I get it. None of are exactly running to sign up to get our hearts broken. With the end of a relationship comes the realization that the person you loved isn’t exactly what you thought they were. Not only is it the end of companionship and regularly scheduled affection, it’s the end of an investment of time and emotion. There’s also the numb discomfort of facing the fact that you’ll have to start over with getting to know someone new and it can be easy to feel like even if you had a trifling partner, at least it’s a triflin’ you know compared to the triflin’ out there that you don’t know. When the weekend comes and your life slows down a little from the hustle and bustle of work, school and your daily routine, it’s then that you’re forced to deal with your pain because there’s nothing to distract you. It will only be a matter of time before your ex hits you with that “Hey…” text, and you’ll find yourself wanting to snatch that band-aid and slap it right on your broken heart, but I’m begging you, DON’T DO IT. I don’t care how many Rob Hill Sr. tweets he quotes or how bomb the sex is, DON’T DO IT.
Some say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. Even after a few days of breaking things off with the ex, I noticed my friend running down the list of who she would date next whether it was a co-worker or the guy who had a crush on her since high school. You don’t have to confine yourself to the couch watching “Game of Thrones”, but if you find yourself serial dating it could be because for whatever reason you’re avoiding spending time with yourself. Sometimes dating can be a distraction from other parts of our lives that we don’t want to fix. Instead of focusing on improving other parts of her life like education, career or even her own home, she always seemed to focus on finding and keeping a man. It’s important to make sure you’re whole as a person before trying to build a life with someone else. When you don’t know how to keep yourself company, you can end up placing that responsibility completely on your partner. It’s no one else’s job to make you feel complete. You have to learn how to enjoy yourself, and love yourself, by yourself.
Sometimes you have to sit in your pain. As uncomfortable as it can be, pain is a necessary part of life. By repeatedly returning to unhealthy relationships just because you don’t want to be alone, all you’re doing is delaying the inevitable and chipping away at your own confidence one disappointment at a time. It can be easy to believe that there is no one else out there for you or that just because you spend a weekend or two watching Netflix with nothing next to you but some Breyer’s Gelato, that you’re setting the tone for the rest of your romantic life. Pain has a way of making you believe the worst about your life and it can give you an impractical outlook on your future.
The good thing about pain is that it also helps you process. It’s difficult to look at any relationship objectively relationship while you’re still in it. It was only when I was balled up in bed, with my head on a soaked pillow that I was able to look at my failed relationships in their entirety and see the patterns. When I recognized the ways I could change or traits in men I wanted to avoid so that I wouldn’t have to feel that way again, I noticed every subsequent relationship I had only improved, but you can only see that when you allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Discomfort allows you to grow.
One of the best things about sitting in your pain, is that when you finally do get through it, you realize it’s actually not the end of the world. With survival comes strength. So turn on some Jazmine Sullivan, grab a box of tissues and assume the fetal position. Like the saying goes, the only way to get through pain, is to go through it. There are no shortcuts, but I promise you the destination will be worth taking the scenic route of self-discovery of your own strength.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.