In 2008, after sixteen years of marriage,
I decided to divorce.
Though my ex and I got along well most of the time, the marriage was missing an intimate, heartfelt romantic connection.
Loneliness and longing for my freedom grew with each
passing year of my dull marriage until I could no longer ignore them.
I knew the kind of intimacy for which I yearned was not possible in my marriage, so I opted for a divorce.
Because my ex- and I actually led mostly
separate lives under the same roof, I assumed the transition through divorce would be fairly smooth.
Boy, was I in for a rude awakening!
Divorce, like most significant losses, takes
the safe and familiar contour of our lives
and blows it to smithereens, leaving us
vulnerable and unprotected until the new
It is easy to underestimate the comfort we draw from what is known,though it is sometimes the very source of our unhappiness.
Shortly after the separation, much like a
Ficus tree seems to all but die when
moved from its familiar spot, I went into a
state of self recrimination.
I reminded myself that,right from the beginning,this marriage was mismatched; it was more as a result of transient bodily lusts than love.
I was a fool to follow my bodily lusts into a sham marriage that was incompatible at all levels.
Much of my suffering was not even related to losing my ex,but cursing my unwise decision in being trapped into a loveless marriage in a moment of weakness.
The pain and hurt I was suffering was directed more inwards to myself,than at the loss of this marriage.
It felt like I was doing penance for my foolish decision that imprisoned me into a very skewed relationship,both at the emotional and intellectual level.
I flogged myself for it.
It was as if my nerve endings were relocated outside my skin, perturbed at even the slightest agitation.
Once- routine tasks, like getting out of bed or
going to the grocery store, seemed barely doable.
I told myself it was not okay to feel the
pain because it was a consequence of my
But what about those lost sixteen years of my life?
My emotional suitcases were so heavy with fear, shame, and self-doubt, I thought these feelings defined me.
One night, the struggle reached a crescendo.
Sadness and dread filled my entire body, from the inside out, until I was heaving with sobs and howling like a trapped animal.
I cried for having made a wrong choice that led to loss of my precious youth,time and material investment in this sham that I called marriage.
I was convinced the pain would either not stop or that it would kill me. I secretly wished for the latter.
It was in this moment I realised that some
pain is, quite literally, unsoothable: there
is no one, no place, and nothing in that
moment that can make it better.
The only way out of unsoothable pain is
to go straight through it.
Even with this awareness, however, I still wanted to run.
I realised that at the material time of my sham marriage,what I needed was love,not necessarily marriage.
But I thought then,that love was found in marriage.
How wrong I was!
When we tell ourselves that we need
something, we inadvertently look for it in
places we are guaranteed not find it.
This is life’s clever way of showing us,
again and again,that faking a relationship will always fail.
Through breakups and divorce.
At the base of every true heart connection is acceptance.
We cannot offer acceptance to others until we can accept ourselves, wrenched heart and all.
Three years and two failed relationships
later, I decided to face grief, and to build a solid life on my own.
I have eschewed all romantic relationships,devoting that time to friendships and long-neglected passions, and music. I felt alone,but not lonely and frequently got scared that I no longer held any feelings for women, but fear was outmatched by a deeply held conviction that I was finally free of chains that limited my life to chronic unhappiness.
Though I once hoped it would, I am happy
to report that, unsoothable pain did not kill me.
In fact, the willingness to push through its
contractions has increased my confidence
to handle my other subsequent life’s losses and uncertainties.
The same can be true for anyone willing to
face his/her own darkness.
If you are experiencing unsoothable pain,
you may be tempted to reach for
something or someone to numb yourself.
Avoidance is a way of inviting into your life more of the very thing you are attempting to banish; resistance is futile.
Your feelings are intense because something important is happening, so keep going!
Sometimes unsoothable pain presents itself as fear, telling us the struggle won’t end.
Sometimes it assumes the voice of self-doubt, convincing us we can’t do it.
Sometimes pain is accompanied by shame, which cajoles us into believing there is something fundamentally wrong with us because we are hurting.
Fear, self-doubt, and shame are the
normal, temporary emotional byproducts
of any significant life-change.
Unsoothable pain is the threshold over which we must cross to access more self love and more light within ourselves.
While masking its symptoms won’t cure the disease, taking good emotional, spiritual, and physical care of yourself goes a long way.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Slow down and breathe.
It may feel like you are dying when you
pause for a bit, but I encourage you to do
When we slow down and sit with hard feelings, we are taking a brave step toward showing ourselves that we are stronger than pain.
2. Create small goals.
During the darkest times, the idea of getting through an entire day felt like a lot, so I broke the day into small chunks to make it more manageable.
My goal list looked like “Shower and groom”
or “Make it to lunch time.”
3. Celebrate achievements.
When I reached each small milestone, I would
sometimes say, out loud and in my goofiest cheerleader voice, “Heck! You made it to bedtime! Another day has turned to
It may feel silly to celebrate events that
seem otherwise unremarkable but, when
your nerves are inside out, even the
simplest of tasks can feel like a big deal.
4. Trust more and confide often.
Make a short list of the people in your life
you feel safe falling apart with and let
yourself fall apart with them.
There is nothing shameful about unsoothable pain—it is our vulnerability that allows us to create meaningful bonds with other humans.
Sometimes a supportive comment or gesture from a trusted friend can be the encouragement
you need to keep going.
5. Move around.
Please do move your body at least once per day.
Whether your preferred movement is
yoga, walking, running, dancing, hiking, or
biking, remember that emotions are
physical events—we can literally move
through them sometimes.
6. Do something that scares you.
Keeping health and safety in mind, figure
out two or three small things you can do
that are outside of your comfort zone.
I wanted to reconnect with my academic studies
side, so I joined college for further studies.
7. Speak kindly to yourself.
We are more likely to advocate for people
we like; so, when you are in pain, speak to
yourself as if you are your own valued friend.
It is when we are hurting that we are most
deserving of our own tenderness.
Gently remind yourself that you are doing your best to take care of yourself,free of burden of taking care of others.
8. Be patient.
Building a new life shape takes time, so
give it the time it deserves.
Acting hastily merely increases your chances of having to start hurting all over later.
Building a friendlier relationship with
discomfort can eventually diminish its
strength and frequency.
In the meantime, it may help to remember that unsoothable pain is often the sign of a well-lived life—it proves you were courageous enough to risk, to fail, and to be affected by loss.
After all, it is when the shapes of our lives are wide open that the most light can get in.
Broken hearts allow in more light into our lives that helps us reorganise our priorities.
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®