No pain, no gain?

A friend and I were talking the other day, and he was clearly suffering from some recent events, yet he insisted that he was "fine" and didn't want to talk about it. He wanted to be "tough" and minimize his feelings, since most people don't want to hear anything that is perceived to be negative. Men are raised to be ridiculed for letting sadness show, and it seems that anger and happiness are the only truly accepted emotion for a man. For a woman, she is even more limited, as she may not show anger, but is allowed to be sad or happy. Excitement is optional but frowned upon in both sexes, unless it is in a very controlled amount. Do you know people who adhere to these ridiculous rules of society? Are they happy and well adjusted? Or are they keeping their emotions bottled up for fear of shame and ridicule from others?

Pain is there to show us what we need to work on. If you are trying to make a decision, and one choice is painful, but the other is not, look closely. Often the painful choice is the right one. It just throws us out of our comfort zone and this is unfamiliar territory. It is a challenge to ask yourself the hard questions, and many of us will choose to deaden our emotions by distracting ourselves with addictions or other vices. This comes in many forms, the most common ones are drinking and drugs, and the gamut runs all the way to over exercising, over working, and even over socializing. When you keep yourself out of pain, you are also locking away that information which can teach you things about yourself and move you forward. I hear how busy people are, and these are also the people who "don't have time for (fill in the blank)." Looking more closely, these people are hiding from their fear of themselves. If you do not have time to sit and be still every day, you are missing out on something very important: YOU. If you hear yourself apologizing over and over again for not following through, that is important information, as you are likely not making time for yourself, either.
A few years back, after my divorce, I had no idea who I was. If you asked me what I liked, I would not know. I decided to take myself on dates, and made a list of things that I liked to do alone. The list was very short at first, but now it has grown to the point where I don't really even need it. I love being alone, and I also love to be with friends. It really doesn't matter what I do, since I am always there:) Focusing on being present has really helped to enrich my life and slow me down. I also have a deeper appreciation for the people in my life who really are there for me, and I can give them my undivided attention when we are together. Next time you are having a conversation with someone, focus on what they are saying, and really LISTEN. You will find a much more peaceful place and you can often learn a lot by just being still and observing. Think about what they are saying, without thinking about what you are going to say next. Let it flow and let it be.
"Sadness is not the absence of happiness" ~ Matt Kahn ~