In life, we cannot have love without freedom and choice. And we cannot have love without the risk of loss and hurt. So when we ask the question, “Why?” — Why do we have to go through some of the things that we do? Why do we have to suffer? Why do we have to hurt? Why do we have to say goodbye to those we love? — we must acknowledge that so many of these things are simply the result of being able to live and love. And love does not control. Love always brings risk. Whoever said that life is supposed to be perfect? It’s just not.

We all have pain. This is a fact. Sometimes we minimize it and sometimes we focus on it. It is hard to maintain balance in the midst of pain because if we were to stop and be present with it, it might be uncomfortable, strange, difficult or ______ (you can fill in the blank). In an effort to avoid pain we try all sorts of things. We use humor. We use distraction. We inflict pain on others. The list goes on and on. And no matter how hard we try to avoid it, it still exists. Pain is at the root of conflict. But how do you ever make the pain go away?

Embrace you pain. Look at it, listen to it, understand it and love yourself in the midst of it. Love heals. Love comforts. Love is the one thing that can help you cope with pain. All the other things that you have tried to make it go away will fail. Pain needs attention and care. Love is a way to accept the pain so that it doesn’t grow and fester.

It seems counter-intuitive. The more critical we are of ourselves (an effort to help ourselves “do” better) the more we reject ourselves and thus amplify our pain. The more accepting, non judgmental and curious we are about how we feel, the more room there is to grow and lessen the pain. So the next time you are hurting, be kind to yourself. Get to know all the layers of how you feel. Get help if you need to understand who you are and to be more accepting of that wonderful person. No matter what, give yourself love.

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