How to use your pain to find your passion
They say time heals all wounds, but that’s only half true. What you do with that time also counts. I have had the awesome privilege to meet many women who have launched businesses, support forums, groups and not for profit organisations from a place of pain. Even I have catered to many women from the experience of painful events in my life and each time, I have done so, I have felt a kind of release and most importantly healing.
I’ll give you an example. About 12 years ago, I was diagnosed with an incurable chronic skin condition called Psoriasis. Psoriasis, is an auto immune disease which causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful. At one point, these scales covered 90% of my skin including my hair and face. As a young woman, I don’t have to tell you the amount of emotional trauma this caused me. Yet, today, I teach young women how to love and embrace themselves and their bodies.
Many of us get lost in our pain. We allow it to control us. Make us resentful, envious, depressed, bitter and sometimes, even cruel. We get caught up in the ‘why me’ phase and remain there indefinitely. Don’t get me wrong, pain is meant to be felt. You cannot short change the process of experiencing pain. It is inevitable but the prolonged suffering from pain is optional. But, how do you circumvent the suffering through pain process and use your pain for good? Well, here are some of the steps women like myself and others who are currently using their pain do everyday.
Move away from shame: This is such an important first step. Many times our pain is shrouded in a blanket of shame, preventing us from seeking the help we need. Whatever the cause of your pain, find a way to move away from shame. To achieve this, realise that your situation is not unique there are women, and men, who have and are currently experiencing your exact situation- there really is nothing new under the sun.
Don’t wait till its solved– when I first started talking about my struggle with psoriasis, a lot of close friends and family asked me to wait until there was a cure or until I was completely healed. They said it would make for a better testimony. They were only half right. The real testimony, is when people see someone walking through fire unhurt. In other words, I have realised that by talking about my struggles, with psoriasis, I have helped women to live with and through their own challenges. Don’t wait for the stars to be aligned before you start using your pain for good- there is someone who is depending on your story to gain strength.
Someone needs your help now– it may surprise you just how many people need to hear your story or how you have managed to move past your pain. Many people are living with secret pains and trials and can benefit immensely from you. I know women who have been through various fertility challenges and are now encouraging younger women and their peers with similar issues. Young widows who opened businesses to support themselves after the loss of their spouse, who now support other widows. Orphans who have opened care centres for children and even women who have struggled with being overweight all their lives, who now run healthy eating restaurants. No matter the pain you can find an outlet which can help others.
You are worthy– a common challenge women always face is one of self worth. We ask, who am I to talk about this issue? What do I Know…you know plenty! When I first started talking about self love, I was afraid people would wonder if I was crazy! After all, my degree wasn’t in that field. But it isn’t about certificate, its about experience. If you have been through it, all you have to do is talk about it.
Fight the fear– fear is an emotion that can prevent us from speaking out. What if people laugh at me? What if they don’t listen to me? What if I get labelled? The only way to fight fear is to do the thing that scares you. Take baby steps. Be strategic. Start small. Like my friend Omilola always says, #doitafraid.
I hope these tips have been helpful. If you have questions or something to share, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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