Good morning! Today, I am going to write about something personal that has been affecting me since August last year. I haven’t really attempted to articulate this pain until recently, so before this post the pain was just known to me as “pain X”.
I’m not kidding. “Pain X” basically feels like this:
I’m not sure how big I would be if I were to draw myself side by side “pain X”. Maybe I’d be consumed by it? Maybe “pain X” is within me? Maybe “pain X” would be so small that it wouldn’t matter eventually?
Or maybe, it’s all a choice about how big or small you want to draw yourself, vis-a-vis “pain X”?
So today, I want to write about a closed door and “pain X” with the hope that I can look back at this post from time to time and help myself move on when I stumble. I hope my sharing can help you too, if you are struggling with your respective “pain X”. Obviously it’s not easy to write about “pain X”, or on the topic of letting go, or to even acknowledge that a door is closed, (probably) forever–when it has been such a large part of your identity.
What is “pain X”?
I remembered crying randomly from time to time whenever I felt “pain X”.
“Pain X” always results from a closed door. You encounter a closed door whenever your heart wants something, you try everything in your means to get/keep it, but the door remains shut due to things screwing up along the way. Screw-ups occur because people, including myself, are imperfect.
I still tear from time to time thinking about the closed door. Thinking about the “If only ifs”. Thinking about how I could and should have done things differently then. Blaming others, and blaming myself.
I’d tried to kick the closed door open, and after a while, I just stopped wanting to kick the door anymore.
I was and am extremely disappointed, least of all discouraged. Disappointed when I had been vulnerable about my dreams and hopes, placed trust, and still had the door consciously slammed shut in my face.
Now, realising that you had been ranked number zero hurts, too.
I’d always coped by pushing “pain X” away, pretending that it did not exist, or telling myself that I was silly because crying about “pain X” is just weak.
But when this “pain X” recurs, recurs, and recurs, I know that “pain X” is not trivial. For my case, the “pain X” is career-related. Having said that, my rational side also tells me to put things in context–my “pain X” isn’t that big as compared to other “pain X” others may feel.
Bigger “Pain X”s can be the death of a loved one without closure, due to abortions, stillbirths, legal ambiguities, unfortunate circumstances or natural disasters, for instance. Those pain Xs are immense and I have no idea how it is possible to even move on with life. Maybe it isn’t even possible at all, which explains why my heart goes out to the families of those involved.
Something taken away and lost forever
This metaphor of a closed door is not just about the future. If we look closely, closed doors are also about the past and present too. A closed door to me might not be of any significance to you.
“Pain X” occurs and is acute because of possible visions of the future your heart has always craved for. And now these dreams, hopes and visions are just gone…forever.
The door stays firmly shut.
“What’s next in life?”–you might ask.
Actually, I’d realised that closed doors are a lot about the past too–and in particular, “unresolved childhoods”. To find out why you want something so badly, think about how you grew up and the feelings which you had always been exposed to and coping with.
If, for instance, a child has always been caught in quarrels with unhappy Daddy and Mummy, he/she might then start to blame himself/herself for anything that happens. As a young kid, he/she may not be able to rationalise or verbalise stuffs, but the emotions–shame, fear and sadness stays with him forever. These emotions layer and pile on top of each other, until a trigger comes one day in adulthood, resulting in “Pain X”.
Letting go and moving on
I hate it when people tell me to move on just because. I felt that they did not understand, when their solution to “pain X” is to “give up”, or “move on without questioning”.
So here, I will write down some reasonable points to letting go and moving on:
- The closed door in front of you is not the only door in your life. You really don’t know what other doors there are right ahead of you, because the road to the future is neither narrow nor linear. In the case of this thing called “career”, has it ever occurred to you that the path behind the closed door might be the worst, out of so many doors? It might also be possible you idealised the original path too much; who knows?
I obviously felt horrible when the door closed, but my business mentors and friends basically encouraged me greatly by pointing out facts about the path that lies beyond the closed door. Obviously, having people around you who have had once faced that closed door, pain X and emerged stronger than before would help.
Seriously–The pointing out of facts helped. If you are one of the precious people who have logically counselled me, and are reading this, do accept my heartfelt thanks. =)
This is why I keep emphasising on the importance of not shutting yourself up/ isolating yourself whenever you face a fucking painful Pain X and a door in front of you that is firmly shut. Seek to reach out to the right people, have the courage to be vulnerable, and I believe you will find strength in knowing exactly how to move on.
- The closed door and that Pain X you feel actually tell you so much more about yourself than anyone or any other things ever can. They push you to look introspectively into your childhood and those accumulated layers of emotions to uncover what you want in life, and why you turned out to be the way you are. This higher level of self-awareness will empower you to live out a richer future life.
- After you know the core of what you want, you can then see other paths to walk on in accordance to your heart’s desires, with a sense of purpose. I find that this reframing actually encourages a huge sense of thanksgiving. You really don’t know what other better doors are there, but you do know one thing–that the path behind this closed door is not meant for you. Even IF you somehow took a bulldozer and rammed the shut door open, the path beyond might be a pain to manage in accordance to your personality and talents.
And this reframing actually makes me to want to appreciate and encourage people who went past the door that remained tightly shut for me. I started thinking that they are brave and beautiful, and I started hoping that they cherish whatever they have, because I had lost that opportunity probably forever.
Or maybe you can remove the word “probably”. Sometimes things are lost forever, and you can never get it back again. That’s a fact. But at the very minimum, it definitely doesn’t mean that your life is eternally screwed.
A closed door, “pain X” and letting go really taught me a lot about choices.
As a human being, a daughter, a woman, a girlfriend, a social media marketer, a fashion marketer, an educator, an entrepreneur–I personally realised that we all have options. The type of choice you make can potentially show what is in your heart, and what is your heart.
It’s really choices that define us. In times of pain, would you choose to be the bigger person?
And so, yes–
This is a huge and painful fall, but I will stand back right up.
Happy Women’s Day. (: