The Arts of Feeling Pains

The COVID-19 pandemic has started early this year and it pushes everyone to stay inside. People find new hobbies, polish new skills, yet others struggle a lot because of the economic reasons. I am a part of the “lucky” and privileged society who is able to work from home. This doesn’t happen to everyone and I am feeling painful that I cannot help much. Truthfully, it has been a rough year to me. The last post I made here was in 2018 and to this date I survived four breakups in a row. Moreover, some students I taught didn’t like online learning experience so they stopped the classes. I found out that I also couldn’t afford new hobbies. It was not possible for me to gain a new skills. It was a real struggle for me to keep mentally sane and stable amidst the circumstances which did not allow me to mingle with friends. Usually, I ask people to have a meetup and soothe my aching heart after a breakup (with the lure of cheap liquor or cheap coffee for halal version) but, of course, it was completely impossible in this pandemic. Luckily, I got some vouchers from online health provider which allowed me to get affordable therapies. I was also able to afford a”slight pricey” therapy session from an online psychologist. All and all, I’m feeling grateful because things got easier when somehow I needed to tap into myself. From the therapy sessions I made, I learn that I have to let go in order to accept pains.

Truthfully, it is the thing that I’ve learned for this two years.

Letting go people that were meant to be.

Letting go ideals which I cling onto.

Letting go the need of being right.

This theme is the hardest lesson since I tend to hold everything so much. It’s not easy for me to get things that I want. When I have things, I tried my best to keep them. However, I understand that letting go is the only best option.

One of the story that I can share how much struggle for me to let go is I tend to hoard things as memento. It’s not easy for me to give up clothes, books, or small things that is dear for me. That is the reason why my room is a wrecking havoc since I have a hard time to let go. Of course, I read Marie Kondo and it speaks a lot about me. I will cry when I give up things. It’s painful for me to see the things that were important and dear had finished their “business”. In one of the Marie Kondo videos, you can see how a person cried when they removed things which was so important. It’s completely an emotional moment which I can relate so much.

However, admitting that I am sad is another challenge. Bottling feelings is a common norm I’m living. It’s not easy for me to admit feelings in healthy ways. I learn the hard way when my partner admitted that she didn’t feel satisfied in the relationship because I held my feelings. For me, culturally, showing feelings is inconvenient. I tried my best not to “hurt” people by not showing feelings. I thought it was a best way to keep people at my arm length but, it actually withheld people for feeling intimate to me. I didn’t see any problems because I tended to push people away from my life. I felt that when I pushed people, it was easy for me to control my own life because I didn’t put any baggage when I needed to cut them off my life. Cutting people off my life is the skill I master since I was a kid. People might think I’m a friendly sociable person (I really am) but I don’t see any problem to cut off people once they cross boundaries. I put so much boundaries because I believe that most people have their ways to hurt me. I just tried my best to minimize the pain.

The thing is, pain is inevitable, important and, actually, it helps me grow. By allowing myself to grieve from separation, be it things like old favorite clothes or breakups or loss of loved ones, I am allowing myself to feel. Instead of busily distracting myself and numbing the feelings, I let go the need of staying composed. Numbing feelings is so easy for me yet it doesn’t allow me to feel anything including happiness, joy, or gratefulness. Letting go of numbing feelings allows me to be mindful of what I’m feeling. This also led to another lesson for me to allow myself feeling vulnerable and in some ways, making me resilient for mental pain. Since I understand how I feel, it’s not hard for me to pinpoint what, when and how I get help. Sometimes, simple therapy like drawing or journalling can help me a lot to cope with pain. It’s super cheap and free. I remember I was diagnosed with depression in 2018. The problem was I didn’t allow myself to feel the emotions. It took a mental health toll on me. I had to pay the price to keep healthy mind so that I can work, be productive and fully functioning. Now, I think, I get better since I’m learning how to cope with uneasy emotions.

What I learn from letting go is I don’t need to dodge myself from pain. I know that not being “productive” like having new hobbies, skills, or other “productive” things is painful for an overachiever person like me. However, I let go the needs of being “productive”. Allowing pain and being vulnerable also allows me to learn to connect myself better with other people using empathetic approach because I genuinely can listen, feel and, hopefully soothe other people’s pain. Somehow, I get a new hobby (solving my friends’ problems if they need), I build a new skill (listening skills) and it is productive. I learn to be a better listener and it helps me a lot on my work. It helps my students to feel satisfied with my teaching and learning experience. I help them to be better learners. I didn’t know that pain helps me a lot to build myself. It’s not easy to handle pains but, it’s totally worth it.

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