From Huff Post Women: There’s something unique about common experiences. On a planet packed with billions of people, each living encapsulated inside his/her own head, the idea of an experience that we all share is pretty mind-blowing.
Granted, not all of these shared undertakings are positive. In fact, many of them involve feeling like you’re crawling through varying vestibules of Hell.
Take breakups. Ask any living person, anywhere, and they can tell you how breakups feel — like utter sh*t. It’s pure awfulness — rejection and pain and loss so bad you can barely fill your lungs with anything but bile. Still, it’s a marvel when you think about it — from the hidden Amazonian tribesmen to the highest Wall Street moguls, every one of these billions of people will tell you the same thing about breakups: They f**king suck.
Still, as with anything, there are a few truths that can help ease the pain, no matter your situation (or geographic location).
1) Pain is inevitable… but suffering is optional.
It’s profoundly unnecessary to say this, but here it is anyway: Breakups HURT. They crush your chest and cleave your heart and twist your bowels with an exquisite, visceral pain. When you think about it, of course there’s pain — something has literally died, something you created and nurtured and made your own. It may not have existed anywhere but inside your head (and hopefully someone else’s), but now it’s dead. And so you grieve.
The grieving part is gonna happen no matter what — I have no good news there, other than “It fades with time, so try not to pass that time by hurling your skull against a cement wall.”
What doesn’t have to happen, however, is the suffering. The suffering is a separate entity from the pain — rather than the simple, raw agony that accompanies loss, suffering is sneakier and more insidious. It usually takes the form of questions that your head forms about you, and then pounds you with until you’re ready to carve up your brain with a fork. “Why did I not see it sooner? Why couldn’t I make it work? Why do I only fall in love with complete wastes of humanity? Why didn’t he want me? Why didn’t I want him? Why wasn’t I good enough? Why am I so unlovable? WHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHATSWRONG WITH MEEEEE!!!???”
This part — this cunning, savage number that your mind does on you — is suffering. It’s an onslaught of questions with no answers — or rather, answers you may never get (and won’t like if you do). And it can go on forever, these soul-crushing peace-slaughtering queries — if you let it. Banishing the Voice of Suffering isn’t easy — in fact it’s near-impossible to keep such an air-tight leash on your mind that it never once bludgeons you with a self-negating cudgel. But you CAN recognize that all this marinating in rhetorical agony is getting you exactly nowhere (other than to the pharmacy for Xanax refills). The trick is to identify the suffering every time it starts up, and mentally tell it to go to hell. And who knows — maybe once you’ve pinpointed where all this suffering lives, you can burn its goddam house down.
(Continue reading at Huff Post Women)