Life lessons…They can hurt. Actually, they usually do. And we all accept that, but….yet…we all also eventually wonder why they still hurt after the lesson has been learned. Here’s why…and why it’s a good thing.
A friend and I were talking yesterday. She was telling me about the first time she found REAL adult friendships. She had a habit (as have I) of finding the kinds of friends that made her feel…less than…or annoying. Then, one day, she found herself in this group or friends where…when she opened up or spoke, she felt heard. She felt accepted. For exactly who she was.
Me: “I’ll be honest, I have that with you. But…sometimes…I’m still afraid I’ll annoy you. Like, I KNOW I don’t, but that fear is still there.”
Her: “Oh, yeah…that part doesn’t go away once you’ve ever been told you’re annoying.”
That was my first thought. A great big giant WELL, FUCK. lol
So, today I started thinking about this.
Why…if the lesson has been learned…does it still leave lingering ghost pains?
ESPECIALLY when it’s a lesson where we didn’t do anything to hurt anyone else…we didn’t break any laws…we didn’t do anything wrong….Truly a lesson where we just were hurt. Why? HOW IS THAT FAIR????
And then I realized…GHOST PAINS ARE GOOD.
Ghost pains are our reminder.
I’ll put this is terms I think many will understand due to recent events.
Masks. Good lord, were there some fights over masks. People yelling that they stopped the spread of the virus. People yelling that they wouldn’t stop anything. I’ll tell you all the same thing I told everyone.
I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t. I’m not a science person. It is not my strong suit and never has been. But. I know people. And the one thing I did know was this…masks were a physical reminder to keep your six feet of distance. I told people, maybe that mask didn’t keep anything in or out…but, the second they came off…out of sight, out of mind…people would forget…and they would stop keeping their distance.
The reminder was what I was POSITIVE actually did help keep people safer.
Emotional ghost pains from life lessons are the same.
Humans are fairly simple, as complicated as we like to pretend we are. We just want to be happy…and we want to be happy with the least amount of effort possible. (Sorry, but it’s true. Lol)
So…we’re living life…we’re taking the path more traveled…we get lost…we stumble and fall…we get hurt…we heal…we get up…”OOOOH! LOOKIT!!! THERE’S THE ROAD AGAIN!” We get back on it…we get lost…we stumble…
See my point?
Now…what if, when we stumble and fall and get hurt…every time we think about that path, we still feel a twinge of pain?
We find a different path.
What happens when we’re on that different path…a little less traveled…a little harder to navigate…and we see that easier path forking off…and we head that way and…
Those ghost pains save us. They save us from trusting the wrong people too easily…they save us from falling into familiar patterns….they save us from being hurt again.
Those ghost pains are our emotional masks that remind us to keep our distance from familiar, but harmful patterns.
So, yeah…certain ghost pains won’t go away.
And, for that, I’m happy.
3 thoughts on “Positive Ghost Pains”
(You’ve got this casual, chatty, fun way of writing, and then, as I’m reading along, I get smacked in the head with something serious. It catches me off guard every single time. Every. Single. Time.)
You’ve made me think. I’ve been chewing on this much of my day, and I’m left wondering about some of the ghost pains. You mentioned ghost pains teaching us not to trust too quickly, and while you’re right about that, I wonder if those ghost pains (in that example) also keep us from trusting when we should.
I got burned pretty badly in a relationship a few years back. I had been lied to every day for a decade. In trying to patch things up, it got worse. That hurt. Bad. So in a new relationship, even after some time, I struggle to fully give my trust. This isn’t a situation where I shouldn’t be trusting someone anyway. This is a situation where I should be able to trust, but the pain and the grief from the last time make me hesitant to do it again.
In that sense, the ghost pains are preventing me from doing what I should do because I remember what happened when I did it before. Or is that something different?
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I did consider this aspect of it while I was writing this. The difference between the two is that (to me) the positive ghost pains come AFTER the work of facing what happened. Trust me, I struggle every day with trusting even the right people. But, as I’ve grown…as I’ve faced things and dealt with them…and really learned…I’ve learned that I can’t always stop those immediate reactions, but I can learn to discuss them with the other party. My boyfriend gets from me A LOT, “Hey…I’m feeling this way. It’s not anything that you did…it’s from my past…it’s not fair to you, but I also know that it’s not realistic to expect myself to never feel these things…so instead, I want to be honest and open and not let them swirl in my head when you don’t deserve that.” I take the responsibility for the emotion, but I share it with him so it doesn’t gain power. And we talk through things. He actually thanks me for this approach. The POSITIVE ghost pains are the ones where…I feel this…I recognize this feeling…and I recognize that I do not feel safe enough with the other party to talk to them about it… The moment that I realize I can’t have that conversation with someone and expect understanding or a positive conversation about it? That’s when I know that it’s positive growing pains that keep me from making the same mistakes again. If that makes any sense. lol
Also, that first part was the best compliment ever! Thank you! 😀
Yeah, that makes some sense. Don’t touch hot stoves because hot stoves are hot. And learning to identify a hot stove can take some practice.
It also makes sense about those positive ghost pains being *after* you’ve dealt with the issue. I guess this is where I realize I’ve got some stuff I need to deal with. Ugh…
Thanks for making me think. And for that ever-so-fun unexpected smack in the head with something serious. 🙂
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