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What We Do with Our Pain

I’ve been thinking a lot about brokenness lately. About the ways in which we all are broken, both big and small.

And to be honest, it’s scary. Terrifying actually.

The way I see it, we are all walking around with wounds. If we are lucky, many of them are scabbed up, perhaps all that is left of some is a scar. But none of us gets off that easily. We all have our bigger emotional injuries. The ones inflicted by a broken world that can’t leave any of us whole.

But the scary part isn’t the wounds. The scary part is what we do with them and who we become because of them.

Because we all know those who take their wounds and use them as weapons. Who take their pain and wrap their little fists around it and hold on for dear life. Those who jump inside of their hurt and zip it up like a sleeping bag around them. Those who use it as a shield to keep others away and a club to beat others down.

Perhaps that’s the easy way. Or perhaps that’s the only way that some people can see through their pain. Perhaps it can be so blinding and so overwhelming that the light can’t get in. Perhaps it suffocated the light; snuffing it out like a blanket to a flame, so that not even a flicker is left.

And we live in a world that is built around pain like this. Pain that is turned into violence and hatred and aggression and malice. Pain that somehow believes it will be alleviated if it inflicts greater wounds on another. Pain that believes it has to transfer its shame to another to make its own less glaring.

To think that each day we walk out into a world that is filled with this type of wound honestly makes me shake and quiver. It makes me fear for my children. And for myself. And for us all.

But it also makes me angry. It makes me angry because wounds don’t necessitate violence, either physical or psychological. They don’t make us mean or cruel or hateful.

That’s our choice. Even if we can’t see it.

There is another way. And I think we can see the other way in the quiet light of souls around us.

Because if we choose, we can take our pain and we can give it to God, and through that, we can make something so beautiful that we know it’s not from us.

We can take our pain and turn it into compassion and empathy and understanding and love. We can realize that while we cannot heal all of our own pain, we can use it as a salve to treat the very real wounds of others. It can open our eyes to all the hurt in the world, and it can turn our hearts towards healing and comforting that pain.

But that light, while it burns so brightly, doesn’t often burn loudly. We see it in quiet eyes of peace, we see it in a gentle touch of friendship, we hear it in gentle words and peaceful spirits.

And sometimes the violence is so loud that it’s hard to see the light and the peace.

This world is ruled by the violence and the hate. It’s how it has to be.

But it’s not how we have to be, and it’s not how I choose to be.

Sometimes I get scared to walk out that door into a world that is cold and cruel and filled with so much violence and hate.

But if we stay inside, all of that will win.

All we can do is wrap ourselves up, take a deep breath, and refuse to dim our own lights. We need to let our light shine if for no other reason so as not to let the dark be the only voice.

If we raise our candles and our lights together as one, perhaps it will create a flame so strong it will start to melt some of the hate and the fear, and it will start to cauterize some of the wounds.

I don’t know.

I really don’t know.

But I do know I would rather go out fighting for the light than acquiescing to the dark.

Teddy bear photo available from Shutterstock

What We Do with Our Pain

Amanda Knapp

Amanda Knapp is a mother, wife, writer, former writing teacher, and lover of the written word. She writes for Psych Central, Mothering, Catholic 365, and her own blog, .

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APA Reference
Knapp, A. (2016). What We Do with Our Pain. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Jan 2016
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