Pain is universal: Three tips to make it through hard times


As cliché as it sounds everybody hurts. When life is not all sunshine and rainbows, we tend to think something is deeply wrong with us, we feel lonely like we aren’t a part of something bigger, like we are totally disconnected from the Universe. Like we are too damaged to ever be fixed, too broken to ever be healed, beyond any kind of redemption. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No matter the nature of our problem, we are all humans connecting to other humans and that pain can bind us because at one time or another, we all been through a problem we couldn’t handle at the moment, an event that hurt us, a moment where we were felt alone in the middle of the crowd, like we didn’t belong anywhere and never would. Like we would never have a sense of union and togetherness.

I’m not asking for you to think all suffering is normal. On the contrary, you should pay attention. If you have an infection of some part of your body, it usually hurts and that’s how you know something is not okay and you need to address that area in specific. So, not all pain is bad, it can be healthy. So my three tips on making through hard times are the following:

  1. Listen to your body. Breathe deeply in and out, be present and access your needs, desires and concerns. Don’t try to sugarcoat what’s bitter, don’t put your distress under a rug. What we resist to, persists and it’s better to face it now sooner rather than later. Keep in mind that this pain is a signal and can be beneficial to you if you take it and manage to turn it around. Seek help, talk to your family and to good friends, people you trust and really care about you. Open up your walls just to love and be loved.
  2. Discover the root cause. The only way to face the pain and come out on the other side is to go all in and seek to understand where it comes from. It can just a general cause like being overworked or stressed, it can be something more serious like severe anxiety or depression. If it affects your life and the way you function, it’s worth investing the time and effort to figure it out, to know yourself better and learn how to come with your emotions. Your overall well being is worth it!
  3. Accept yourself and be confortable in your skin. When you truly love yourself from the inside out, your energy and stamina level changes and you see life in a more hopeful framework. You have a sense of purpose, something to fight for, to be excited about. In short: you have something to live for. When you build a strong sense of self and a solid identity, outside criticism is only background noise. They can say you have a million flaws and it won’t bring you down because you will be secure and sure of who you are.

Lastly but not least, I end with another cliché: try to always be kind to others and emphatic as well because everyone has problems and is going through a battle you know nothing about.


Paula Gouveia