Example: I once wrote a heartfelt letter on behalf of my team to our corporate overlords because my team was suffering. I did something no one else would do because we’re not supposed to talk about emotions in the workplace. But I couldn’t help it. As an empath I see and feel the pain in my people.
I think often about how much unprocessed pain is ruling our culture. How trauma became a buzzword because we are all walking around with unexpressed pain. How we apologize for our expressions of pain when they arise in front of others. How we have few rituals for our pain. How we have to pay people to help us process our pain. How we expect people to move on from grief quickly and quietly. How many kinds of pain and grief are taboo.
We avoid our pain and then it rules us. There are people hiding away with their pain in addiction and people taking out their pain on the world by shooting up schools. We need to create a new relationship with pain if we hope to mature beyond our current culture of dehumanization (which stems from pain + contempt). We dehumanize ourselves and others in order to avoid the pain of our humanness.
Pain is part of being human. Denying:avoiding:numbing it is denying:avoiding:numbing a piece of ourselves, which means we can’t be whole. Wholeness is not freedom from pain, wholeness is honoring our human experience in fullness, including our pain. We won’t move into anything resembling wholeness as a culture until we feel and express the collective pain of racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, and all the rest of the ways we hurt ourselves and one another. We will not be free until we honor how much it hurts to be human.
Image: Painting gifted to me by an artist I dated a few times in my 20s. Unfortunately his name isn’t on it and I don’t remember it.