It's a depressing title, I know. But pain is an ever-present part of our lives. Even through the happiest of times, it is the constant strand in a complex array of webs that unites us as humanity together. The types of pain are varied with an infinite amount of levels. Often it is the smallest of things that can consume us and lead us down a path where pain consumes our lives and everything about our existence.
Nonetheless, instead of allowing this shared, underlying pain to unite us, it is rather the most magnified divider of people. In fact, the people who are hurting the most are often the ones to bring others serious pain. As humans, its one of our biggest temptations to subconsciously imagine the world to revolve around ourselves, making our own pain one of the most central aspects of our daily lives, rather than recognizing the hurting that goes on all around us. The small negative things that occur in our lives begin to add up until suddenly we are looking at a miserable existence. This pain can become so great that our simple human minds can't contain it anymore, and it begins to be expressed as harmful verbal or physical lashing out. Internalized pain takes a lot of time to heal, and in the meantime it's extremely difficult to deal with.
However, when we are the victims of these lashing outs, we tend to focus on our own pain and not the origin of where our pain came from. This blindness leads to us ignoring the pain of others and continuing this cycle of pain.
As a little challenge to you, when everything seems to be going wrong and people seem to be hurting you again and again, focus on the pain they might be experiencing. First of all, it's a distraction from your own pain, and third it leads to compassion. And a world of compassion is a world is one of so much less pain... :)
For my entire life people have told me "Claire, you are smart." I've been called various names such as the Book Girl, or the Nerd with many other variations. I lived for accomplishing the next goal, the next task, the next dream to reach. But it happens in every persons life when they don't reach that goal or that dream. When something they thought they'd been good at all along crashes and burns all around them, and suddenly they don't feel good at it anymore. From someone who's experienced this, it hurts. A lot.
It was when I entered high school that I finally came to the realization that there were an incredible amount people out there who were just as smart and smarter than me. I wasn't and couldn't be the smartest one out there. I felt purposeless and ambition-less because it seemed like there was no way to win. Records are there to be broken, and no matter what you do, there's always someone out there who's better than you at what you do. Maybe not now, but definitely somewhere down the line.
If not smart then, what was I? It's a deep question I had to ask myself, and all of us have to ask ourselves similar questions. Looking beyond the talents we have, who are we as a person? What is our self worth based on? Because if we base our self worth on something temporary, we are only setting ourself up for major heartbreak down the line.
I was waiting to someday accomplish some unknown "ultimate goal" that would finally bring fulfillment. I'll make this quick, it doesn't exist on earth. There is always some other goal to aim for. At the end of the day, I wanted someone to tell me "you did it. You finally are enough." You are enough. Those are such powerful words, at least to my mind. I didn't understand or fathom in any way that God had molded me and created me in a particular way, and when He was done, He looked at me and saw that what he made was good. I am good. You are good. Is that not absolutely remarkable? No matter what we accomplish in our lives here on earth, what records we break, what we are the best in, we are still just as good in God's eyes as the average person next to us.
Our value is not in our grades, it's not in how fast we can run a mile, it's not our vocal range. Our self worth is that we were created by God with a much higher purpose than getting into a certain college or making a certain amount of money. It's little things that bring fulfillment. It's long conversations with a friend late at night, it's playing a board game with a sibling, it's catching up with an old acquaintance, it's laughing so hard your stomach hurts, it's going on a walk and simply being along with your thoughts. There is so much joy in our lives, we have so much purpose contained in our bodies, and no matter what we do, we are enough in God's eyes.
I in no way intend to sound preachy, though I probably do. I am not at all perfect at this, but it's something I've come to a major realization with in my life and I wanted to share that with you :).