Pain is a 4-Letter Word

Pain is a 4-letter word. One that’s OK to use. It’s safe to use. Or is it?

Pain is physical. Pain is mental. Pain is emotional. Sometimes it’s a combination of those.

We talk about pain in different ways for different reasons. There seems to be a need to quantify pain, to compare degrees of pain as better or worse, easier or harder (to deal with).

Most of the time people don’t know what to do with pain. If you share about your pain, others don’t know how to respond. “I’m sorry.” “That’s too bad.” or “That sucks.” And those are the feel good responses. If you have physical pain but don’t look hurt or like there’s something wrong, they look at you with a blank stare, or like you’re a wimp or you’re faking, or just like, “really??” Emotional or mental pain is even worse. Others simply don’t know what to do with it.

Empathy is recognizing that pain is pain, and your pain is yours. Pain comes in all kinds of ways for all kinds of reasons. It is real. It can’t be quantified. How it affects you is different than how it would affect anyone else. Then what do you do with it? Does it matter?

What do I want when I share my pain? What do I need? What is necessary to come to terms with my pain?

Pain is a 4-letter word. Is it safe?

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