Overwhelming suffocation. Darkness closing in. Disdain for everything, just merely existing. No matter who you are or where you may come from we have all experienced pain. Maybe it’s stemmed from death, disappointment, dissipating relationships, or perceived failure. Pain has many faces and comes to us through various vessels but the actual feeling itself is universal. Suffering has no face, knows no class, and prefers no race, sexual orientation, or religion over another. Agony can be mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual and when it’s not addressed we can spiral into the darkest of places.

Before I go on about pain, I want to first address the concept of having a bruised ego. Often times we think we experience pain, it’s simply deep embarrassment. Our ego feeling exposed because something didn’t go our way. The deeper issue in that regard is your level of attachment and the reasoning behind said attachment. There’s a major difference in being vested in something because it speaks to and livens your soul and being vested in something because it makes you feel better about yourself. Things that fall into this genre are maybe your choice in a partner in a sense that you don’t find the beauty in yourself so you seek someone that fits the worlds standards of beauty. In doing this you’re internally saying if this person can see something in me then I am worthy. Or maybe you seek a person who often sought after even if it’s for the wrong reasons. The first sign of this is treating someone like a conquest or a prize won. Or maybe it’s the material things you don’t really care for but buy because according to the world this represents wealth and status.

Ego has manipulated people since the beginning of time into confusing that in which is genuine over that which act as bandaids to our broken souls. Now don’t get me wrong there aren’t too many things more dangerous than a broken ego because when a person’s reputation that they have worked so hard to build is on the line, people often feel they have nothing to lose. We see this everyday on social networks in forms of airing out dirty laundry and subliminal messages that “aren’t for anybody, but if the shoe fits wear it”. Pain and ego bring out the weaknesses in people ironically most times when they believe they are displaying their most courageous acts. Hindsight always proves this notion wrong but while in the midst of things it’s often hard to see past your emotions. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying things don’t get uncomfortable and a bruised ego can’t cause pain. What I am saying is we must remove ourself from our egos and thus the weight of having to uphold these reputations that we have manufactured or that have been placed on us. It is only then that we can make better choices in friendships, partners, and our overall existence. When we do this we don’t avoid pain but we understand that being confident in who you are and where you are going causes us to lose things along the way. When you are aligned with your soul and know your true self you understand there is a bigger picture at hand, everything you experience serves that bigger picture. If something is meant to be it will eventually find it’s way into your life under the right circumstances and without much resistance.

Inevitable pain like pain experienced from death, loss of a job, the ending of a meaningful relationship/friendship can be excruciating. Being spiritual does not by any means dictate or encourage us to suppress our emotions and dismiss the grieving process. What it does is provide us with the comfort even if it takes us a while to grasp it, that sometimes loss means growth. I began experiencing death at an early age and have not stopped since so I know that my views on it probably are different than most. My first experience with death happened when I was 5 years old and my most recent just last year twice at the age of 29. If I’ve learned nothing else, I learned that pain changes you. In death I’ve always felt a sadness but when my mother transitioned, I changed. When I wasn’t suppressing my grief, I was outwardly spewing it into the world in various forms of negativity. Maybe it was how I treated myself, how I treated others, my lack of respect for money and property, looking for pity, lack of drive, or just completely losing myself.

I’ve never lost a job but I know the pressures that can be placed on someone put in that position. No matter if it’s a well paying career or the job that gets you by. You have a choice, first never be afraid to ask for help even if you requests go unanswered. Secondly, don’t allow yourself to slump into a place of depression that you lose the will and ability to help yourself. We are not put here to depend on one another but to thrive and be able to be of assistance to one another if the time comes. Maybe you’re an artist striving to start your own business and all you think you need is money and your dream will blossom like sweet petunia on a Spring day. Well I have news for you, it won’t. Real success stories are birthed from grit and hardships. Your ability to use your creativity to make something from nothing. You can have all the business plans you desire and create all the vision boards and affirmation journals to grow your day dream but until you put in work you are nothing more than an aimless dreamer. God helps those who help themselves be it miraculous streams of income or crossing paths with the right person at the right time. Opportunity cannot meet you half way if you aren’t moving.

Friendships and relationships are some of the most trickiest things I’ve ever had to encounter in this lifetime. Even more so than death which is probably not easily grasped by some but let me tell you why I feel this way. With death we know there is no changing that and though grief may come sweeping in like mighty waves, what’s done is done. When it comes to loss of friendships and relationships there’s a grace period if you will where you question if you or the other parties involved made the right decisions. You will question what went wrong and if those wrongs can be rectified. Even if you don’t care to have those wrongs rectified you may find yourself wondering about people and if they may hold regret or longing in their hearts. You may have to see them carry on with their lives or vice versa sometimes missing out on all the miraculous things happening to and for them. Or maybe you both missed out on some tragic life changing events. It’s natural to wonder if relationships can be mended but in order to do so there has to be a willingness on both parts. Sometimes one party may be up for reconciliation while the other may not and this can be excruciating and debilitating.

No matter if loss comes in the form of material things, death, jobs, friendships, or relationships we must always keep in mind that although life is comprised of moments it’s bigger than one isolated moment. This doesn’t matter if those moments last a day or 10 years when something has served it’s purpose in our lives or vice versa it is time for it to go and we must proceed to the next lesson. Grief is inevitable but suffering is optional. We must have support systems and something greater than ourselves to believe in to get us through the tough times life often places in our paths. Allowing yourself to slump into a place of suffering can only lead to depression and decay. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if there is no one close to you that you feel comfortable sharing with and most importantly be careful who you share with. Our stories are lived to be told because they can possibly help another but our pain is not meant to be irresponsibly dumped on the World. For one being irresponsible with your pain can be the catalyst in breaking someone else down and secondly everyone that listens doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Some will share your business, others will deem you crazy. Some people may use you in your time of weakness leaving you not only emotionally and mentally depleted but financially depleted as well.

Death and loss affect us but sometimes have absolutely nothing to do with us personally. We must keep in mind just as we have a purpose and plan for our lives others do as well and no matter what plan we may think we have, God has the final word. Choose to live and smile again and you will notice that the grief you feel will begin to wither away. It takes effort and it is birthed by simply choosing happiness. Practicing this daily one day you will notice that your grief has subsided, diminished into sporadic sadness. Stay the course and that sadness can be transformed into moments of reflection. You then take those moments of reflection and allow them to build strength and character in you; I promise one day the very things you thought had broken you will bring a smile to your face. Simply because you made it through. No one ever promised life would be easy and without disappointment. However, I promise you today that you will never experience anything that wasn’t meant to reveal something necessary for the greater good of your vision or the vision that you have yet to realize.

It all goes back to the old adage of The Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.

I wish you strength, discernment, compassion, and courage!!!

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