Pain and Triumph: How We Can Hurt the Ones We Love the Most


She’s beautiful. She’s kind. I can see the love she has for me every time I look into her eyes. However, sometimes, as we all do, I take that love for granted. Assuming it will always be there. I joke about myself dying from my medical conditions quite often, but I neglect to see the pain in her eyes when I do. She wants me to be around as long as possible, and I flippantly joke about taking one of the things she loves the most away from her due to my own irresponsibility. Think about that. How does that feel?

Chances are it may not be as simple as cracking jokes for you. Maybe it’s alcohol. Maybe it’s recreational drugs or opioids. Maybe it’s depression. Maybe it’s anorexia. Many of us struggle with something deep. Something difficult. Something that we can recognize is causing pain in someone we love dearly. However small it may be, pain is still pain. If you know you are hurting someone, why would you keep doing it?

The Curse of Validation

For me it is validation. I like the attention. It makes me feel safe when someone fights for me. But this isn’t healthy. You can’t keep putting someone you love in crisis mode all the time. It may feel good to you temporarily, but it hurts them repeatedly. The risk is not worth the reward. Validation has been a problem for me since I was little. I didn’t receive a lot of validation in my childhood when I needed it most, so I have spent the latter portion of my life seeking it. Often in the unhealthiest ways possible. No one taught me healthy coping skills. At least not until she came along.

I owe a lot to her for the positive changes she has helped me make in my life. I am finally happy for the first time in years. Mostly due to her guidance and help. Every morning, I get to wake up to a call from her, and I can just hear the love in her voice. Yet, I still allow myself to seek validation in a way that causes her to face the reality of my own irresponsible decisions taking me away from her before my hour has come. It pains her. She loves me too much to want to contemplate that. So, it’s time to keep working on myself.

Making Changes

As you can see in one of my previous posts. These past few weeks have been amazing for me. I have had a wonderful time, and my mental health is better than ever. However, I have ceased to use my coping skills and am just now getting back in the habit of using them. One thing you will learn in yourself awareness journey is that true validation is something that can only be obtained from within yourself. Here’s how you can get started with that.

1. Prepare Your Sanctuary: Cultivate a Space for Inner Exploration

Find a quiet, comfortable haven where you won’t be interrupted. This could be a designated meditation nook in your room, a park bench bathed in dappled sunlight, or even your bed with soft pillows and plush blankets.

If possible, keep this space clutter-free to minimize distractions and promote a sense of tranquility. Then, choose a notebook that sparks joy, one with a cover that reflects your personality or has a calming color palette. Alternatively, use a digital note-taking app if that allows you to express yourself more freely.

There are many free meditation timer apps available. Consider ones that offer calming soundscapes like nature ambiences or gentle chimes to enhance your experience. Finally, enhance the ambiance with cozy blankets, calming music that resonates with your soul, or a scented candle with a relaxing aroma like lavender or chamomile.

    2. Cultivate Mindfulness Through Meditation: Train Your Attention Muscle

    Begin with just 5 minutes of daily meditation. It’s more important to be consistent than to overwhelm yourself at the start. Gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable and find your meditation groove. Sit or lie down in a way that allows you to relax while staying somewhat alert. Experiment with different postures like sitting on a chair with your back straight or lying down on your back with your legs extended. The key is to find a position that allows for deep breaths without causing discomfort.

    Close your eyes (optional) and pay gentle attention to your natural breath. Notice the rise and fall of your chest or abdomen without trying to control it. Imagine your breath as a gentle wave, ebbing and flowing with each inhale and exhale. When your mind inevitably wanders, as it’s wont to do, don’t judge yourself. Gently guide your attention back to your breath without any harsh self-criticism. Imagine thoughts like passing clouds drifting across a vast blue sky.

    As you meditate, thoughts and feelings may arise. Acknowledge them without judgment and let them pass by like clouds in the sky. Don’t try to force them away or cling to them. Simply observe them with a sense of detached curiosity.

      3. Embrace Journaling as Self-Discovery: Unveil the Layers Within

      Set a timer for 10 minutes and write continuously about anything that comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or making sense. Just let your thoughts flow freely onto the page, like a stream of consciousness. This can be a great way to break through creative blocks and unearth hidden aspects of yourself.

      Every day, list 3-5 things you’re grateful for, big or small. This practice cultivates a positive mindset and appreciation for yourself and your life. It could be anything from being grateful for your health and loved ones to finding a delicious cup of coffee waiting for you in the morning.

      Use prompts to delve deeper into specific aspects of yourself and unearth hidden strengths or challenges. Here are some examples:

      • “What am I naturally good at?”
      • “What challenges am I facing right now, and how can I navigate them with more resilience?”
      • “What brings me the most joy in life?”
      • “What limiting beliefs might be holding me back?”

      After journaling, take a moment to reflect on what you wrote. What emotions come up as you read your entries? Are there any patterns or recurring themes that emerge? This process of reflection can be a powerful tool for self-discovery.

        4. Combine Journaling & Meditation for Deeper Exploration: Bridge the Gap Between Inner and Outer

        After your meditation session, spend a few minutes journaling about your experience. What did you notice about your thoughts and feelings during meditation? Did any specific emotions arise? Did you experience any physical sensations? Use journaling prompts specifically designed to follow meditation to delve deeper into the subconscious mind and unveil hidden aspects of yourself. Here are some examples:

        • “What limiting beliefs surfaced during meditation that might be hindering my self-worth?”
        • “What aspects of myself did I feel most connected to during meditation? (e.g., strength, creativity, compassion)”
        • “Did any symbols or imagery arise during meditation? What do they represent for me?”

          5. Celebrate Your Journey: Acknowledge Your Progress and Embrace Self-Compassion

          As you practice journaling and meditation, celebrate your victories, no matter how small. Did you manage to meditate for a full 10 minutes today? Did you write two full pages in your journal for the first time? Recognize and appreciate your commitment to self-discovery. Remember, self-discovery is a journey, not a destination. There will be ups and downs, days when meditation feels effortless and days when your mind seems like a whirlwind. Be patient with yourself and practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a close friend.

          Consider joining a journaling or meditation group to connect with others on a similar path. Sharing your experiences and insights with others can be a source of encouragement and inspiration. There are online communities, local workshops, or even mindfulness apps that offer group meditation sessions.

            In conclusion…

            This is just the one step of many you have to take in my self-awareness journey. It is a constant dance between spending time moving forward and trying not to move backwards. Nobody is perfect, and rarely anybody gets it right the first time. It is an everyday battle. For me seeking validation in unhealthy ways will always be a struggle for me. It is how I grew up. Generational curses are made to be broken, but no one said it was going to be easy. And if they did, they lied to you.

            I have changes I need to make, and I am sure you do too. If you have someone in your life who loves you like this woman loves me, don’t take it for granted. Time is limited. It moves swiftly and silently, and you never know how much you have. Be present, be self-aware, and enjoy the moment. Because you don’t know when time will run out.

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