To relate to your pain you have to love yourself, part 3

Although we tend to recoil from pain, we also tend to cling to its causes.

It’s weird.

And it perpetuates pain.

It causes a state of lock down. We hate the recurring pain in our lives, but we do not change the root causes. In fact we repeat them, sometimes on purpose.

We don’t change the little things we can change. Because they are familiar and predictable.

We cling to life as we know it.

Because we know it.

Even if we hate it. Even if it frustrates or endangers us.

This lock down chokes off possibility, hinders vision, and creates an addiction to relief.

Not progress or growth. Not constructive, incremental change.


The temporary superficial alleviation of pain through distraction.

The cycle of pleasure and pain

There is a revolving door between pain and relief. We tend to alternate between these two states in a never ending loop.When pain arises, we shift to a different imbalance, one we think we can manage.

It happens by reflex and we don’t recognize it for the avoidance that it is:






Or the bizarre anti-pleasure, the strange shelter of self negation.

Just something other than the pain we’re in.

Then the pain passes and we feel okay again.

At this point we begin the inner monologue that says it was no big deal. It isn’t a problem. It has no root cause, and on and on.

We pretend it will never happen again. That it has not happened a thousand times before.

We move on from the pain and don’t look back. We transition into a place that feels manageable, even if still unsatisfactory, and from there we continue to live our lives.

Until the pain returns.

When it does, we escape, wait it out, and reemerge to keep walking when its gone.

Until it comes back again.

This is the cycle of pleasure and pain.

And the pain always returns.


Because it never really left.


Original pain

Original pain is the pain you’re in anyway, no matter what your life is doing.

It is the accumulation of moments when you were not loved, when you were rejected, when you were ignored, back when your circumstances were beyond your control.

Added together these experiences determined your base expectation of what life can be, and have provided momentum for continued accumulation of similar experiences ever since.

This pain is in everything we do, always lurking in the background. And it takes a unique shape in each unique life. It organizes and presents itself based on our attitudes, circumstances and experiences.

It’s in the details with which we have saddled ourselves over time.

When external pain comes, in whatever shape, it interfaces with this original pain.

Rubs against it.

Adding to the external exigency a refreshed experience of the pain you were already in. Which only makes the external exigency harder.

The deep roots of this pain are ancient. Older than you. Older than your parents. Older than your grandparents.

It comes down to you from times lost, but has been sustained, like heredity, through the generations.

And suffered by all of them.

It’s trans-generational pain, onto which more and more pain is added, until we do something about it. To work with it, to heal it, is to do so on behalf of your entire family working backward into the mists of the past.


Trap door into the cycle

This under-the-surface-pain swells up when external pain comes. It makes tough situations tougher. Pain from the outside gets sifted through your understanding of pain which is based on previous experience, and you go through it in that acquired, semi-voluntary way:

The sense that you can’t escape.

That it’s never going to change.

That you’ve been singled out by the universe.

These distortions and others like them make external pain much worse than it needs to be, and push you toward temporary relief.


You, trying to wake up

In the cycle of pleasure and pain, we keep meeting circumstances in life that rouse the original pain. Circumstances that change in detail, but are actually repeat experiences of the same persistent pain.

If you look, you’ll notice patterns. Similarities shared by the pains you go through in life. Different details but the same underneath.

Repeat frustration. Repeat disappointment. Repeat pain. It can seem truly hopeless.

But it’s not.

It’s you seeking the healing you need from life. It’s your life force compelling you into circumstances you need to get your weaknesses tweaked, prodded, aggravated.

So you’ll see what you need.

This explains the sense of being drawn to what hurts you.

Annoys you.

Destroys you.

It’s you trying to wake up to your situation.

It’s you exploring your pain. Learning it.

So you can heal it.

So you can grow.

Or, it can be.


A different kind of door

Look at your responses. Look at how you think and feel in various circumstances.



When you find yourself in pain, try to separate from it. Get a look at it. Just to see.

It’s really hard to do at first, simply because it’s hard to remember to do it.

But do it.

Because if your original pain were healed, or tended in a conscious way, the external pains of life, however big, would change.

Your sense of safety would not be tied up in them. Your sense of well being would not be contingent upon them. Your notion of who you are would not be based on them.

Sorrow, disappointment and loss still happen. Pain is still a radical experience.

But purified.

Freed from the original pain. The inherited pain. The acquired pain. The pain that latches on to the present moment to fill it with irrelevant static.

The pain that in reality has nothing to do with you, but was foisted upon you by ignorance, at a time when all you could do was absorb it.

With that out of the way, or at least out in the open, you will be far more effective in dealing with the turns of life.

You will have access to your self, your joy, and all your inner resources, no matter what kind of storm is raging.


  • Carolyn Main

    Just want to say, love seeing this articulated so well. Its the iceberg that sinks many ships!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for saying so, Carolyn. I’m glad you find this post useful. And thanks for reading.