Walking at lunch the other day, off to go do some retail therapy to try and make myself feel better about heartbreak, and wondering why emotional pain can hurt so badly that we sometimes wonder if we'll survive it, I had a thought. I remembered other times I've been in intense pain, even the day before, and how I despaired of making it another minute with this pain, and how I did make it. It seems melodramatic in times when we're doing okay to think of emotional pain as something that can kill you, but I think all of us at one time or another have had moments (or longer) of being in such pain. And in this moment, I wondered how many of us have given ourselves credit for surviving those moments. Yes, perhaps the thought that we will die from heartbreak or disappointment is unrealistic, but in the moment, it can feel like the ultimate reality. When's the last time you stopped and congratulated yourself for getting through those moments, and even getting past them, healing, and moving on?
I went to lunch with a friend a few days ago, and she happened to pick a restaurant where I had gone with an ex- (not the most recent one.) We just happened to sit at the same table he and I had shared. My friend and I had a nice lunch, and it was only that evening that I realized: I had had no twinge whatsoever of pain from that old breakup! I almost texted my friend, but held back, figuring I'd already talked her ear off about this latest ending and she was due for a break. But when I realized that I had moved past that painful time and moved on, and that the old memories no longer haunted me, I got a new shot of faith that I will survive the current time and come out alive, kicking, stronger, and healthier for it.
If you're struggling with emotional pain, despairing that it will never end, remember the old pain and give yourself credit for surviving those times. Give yourself a pat on the back or an ice cream or a new book and congratulate yourself for being so strong, resilient, and courageous that you've made it here!