For the past three weeks, I’ve been looking at Oprah’s Lifeclass on the Own Network. Iyanla Vanzant taught lesson one, Stopping the Pain. She took the negative connotation of the word pain as being something that hurts, and made it into an affirmation:
How clever to take the negative and change it into something positive! Easier said than done, right? We all have free will and the power to change things, but the truth is, we often don’t. It is easier to play the blame game.
Another thing she talked about was how many of us are addicted to a story of pain that we have written and tell over and over again. It is often a story of an indignity that we have suffered at some point in our lives and refuse to let go of, even though the culprit has probably moved on and forgot about it. While we walk around wearing our pain like a badge, our former tormentors are living their lives. Pain keeps you in the past, because you’re constantly thinking about what was done to you at a particular point in time. Our stories often become a stumbling block that keeps us from moving forward or a crutch that we hold on to so that we don’t have to face our fears or the truth. What is the theme of your story? Is it a story of pain? Was your pain inflicted on you or did you cause it yourself? If so, when you got old enough to deal with it, what did you do about it? Did you seek therapy or spiritual guidance or did you try to bury it in drugs and alcohol, food, sex, or shopping sprees?
My story of pain was not believing, trusting, or loving myself , which led me to live an unfulfilled life and make bad decisions. As a child I suffered through many things and I carried that pain for all of my adult life . It was only when I sought help that I began to move forward and heal, and it is still a work in progress. I had to learn things that were very foreign to me, like forgiveness, self acceptance, and selfishness. I had to forgive myself and my tormentors. It sounds clichéd but forgiveness is the only way you can release the heavy burden that pain, anger and hatred cause. The longer you hold onto those things, the longer they will control every aspect of your life. I also had to accept what happened and that I could not go back and change things. If you had the ability to go back and erase the past, wouldn’t you do it in a heartbeat? But there is no magic wand to make things right, only we can do that. If we don’t, no one else will. Finally, I had to learn to put myself first and say no (still struggling with that), and really mean it.
Pain hurts, but you can recover and heal. It may be a slow process, but it is worth it in the end, because you are worth it. Speaking of Iyanla Vanzant, I am currently reading her latest book,Peace From Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through. It is outstanding! If anyone knows pain and how to overcome it, she does. She overcame poverty, abuse, and low self-esteem to become one of the most successful motivational speakers ever, and then lost it all while having to deal with the death of her daughter and the end of her marriage. She talks candidly about being addicted to pain, particularly emotional, and how she overcame it. She doesn’t try to sugarcoat anything, but gives it to you straight with no chaser.
Until next time, let me live you with this Buddhist quote,
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.
p.s. Check out Oprah’s Lifeclass tomorrow on the OWN Network! Iyanla, Deepak Chopra, Pastor T.D. Jakes, and Tony Robbins will be teaching a new life lesson.