This is one of the most important pieces in the “transformational work” process.
And it’s one of the very *first* step towards healing.
Here it is:
Honour your pain.
Is the word “honour” too much for you? Then change it. “Take your pain seriously” “Make your pain important”
Something caused you pain. Say to yourself:
“this happened to me, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it, it hurt me and I’m going to say it hurt me”.
The stuff that caused you pain? Shine a light to it
We tend to build our ideas of what can cause us pain us around what social convention deems “this can cause people pain”.
This is a way of saying that we usually need some kind of “authority” figure to tell us that we are entitled to feel “pain”.
For instance: we go to our friend and say “you won’t believe what this PERSON did to me!!!”.
And if your friend agrees with you and tells you “you are right, that was ten shades of WRONG” then you feel validated. You feel your “feelings” are validated.
Now it’s ok for you to feel pain. Pain? Validated and justified.
There is a problem with this system: you rely on your friend to validate your feelings.
What happens when your friend is otherwise engaged? What happens with the stuff you can’t share with your friend?
Or worse! What happens if your friend has the audacity of saying (heaven forbid) “Actually, Mary, this wasn’t all that bad, you are exaggerating”.
DOOM!!! ARGH!!! Un-FRIEND immediately! STAT!
That is why we practice being our own source of validation for our feelings.
Because really, it all starts with yourself and your relationship with yourself.
We cannot heal from trauma until we recognise how much pain this “thing” brought us
And if we cannot say to ourselves “actually, yeah, this “thing” has brought so much pain! ARGH!” then we’re never going to heal.
All of this will sound very nice, and it will be entirely useless *until* you put it into practice. THEN you’ll realise how difficult it is. And how transformational.
My personal stuff
I have been through my own share of trauma. And it took me a long, long time to say to myself: “actually, this thing that happened has seriously caused us pain. Like, lots of pain”.
And you know why? Because no matter where I looked, I could not find anyone who thought that my experience with this “thing” could *ever* lead to something like pain and trauma.
Because: “isn’t this “thing” how it’s supposed to go?” or “Everybody does it” or “Everyone is cool with it, it’s you who has the problem” or “that’s nothing, compared to *real* problems, like…”
Or “even feminists like pr0n, so there, you’re wrong”.
Now, for once in my life I’m at a place where I can say
“I honestly don’t care what Feminists, Leftists, specialists or anyone else in the entire world thinks or feels about this “thing”. I feel traumatised from it. And because I need to heal from it, I’m going to regard my own opinion as the only opinion that counts”
THAT is why we separate between the personal and the political. Because if you get trapped inside the “political”, then the only way for you to recognise your pain as actually “valid” is for political analysis to justify your pain due to Patriarchy. Or Capitalism.
And then it doesn’t even work, because you need to look at your “feelings” and feelings aren’t rational.
When you’re working on your own personal stuff, your own opinion on your pain is the only opinion you need to listen to.
Pay close attention to the voice that says “this hurt me”. Or the voice that says “this couldn’t possibly have hurt me because it just couldn’t”.
Here’s the truth: if you’re thinking about it at all, there is a reason for it. And chances are, there’s trauma that needs to heal.
Forget about whether it’s “bad enough to have caused trauma”. It could be a broken toenail. It’s *still* your toenail!
If it hurt you, if it’s in your mind at all, give it the attention it deserves.
Say “this hurt me”. Or “I think this might have hurt more than I thought at first”.
Or “this “thing” is still in my mind. Is it possible it may have hurt me?”
Or “it’s true that other people don’t think this “thing” could have hurt me, but it’s in my mind a lot. And the transformational process requires me to ignore everyone and listen to my pain. So if I have pain, I’m going to listen to it (and ignore everyone else)”
Listen to your pain. It just wants your attention. Yours, not anyone else’s.