How feeling pain can transform us

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When we’re abused at work, our perception of the world can feel like we’re looking into a tunnel with limited ways out. But painful, crushing experiences CAN lead to a new you according to #1 New York Times bestselling author T.D. Jakes.

It’s about trusting in the universe to lead you to healing after you feel like crushed grapes. Feeling crushed is part of a transformative process. If we’re protected from our pain, we may miss out on our purpose, Jakes says. It’s a lesson that Jen Sincero also teaches in her bestseller You Are A Badass: look for the lesson to help you grow and realize why you’ve been put on this planet.

We become our best selves when we’ve endured things we thought were going to kill us…. We get stuck because we are so adaptable to our environment that we start accepting normatives out of things not meant to be normal in our lives.

There’s a pathology of pain that people get into where if anything good comes along, …we reject it because it is no longer our norm. We have built a system to support us in the pain that does not accommodate getting out.

You have to break out at the risk of feeling awkward with happy, awkward with joy, awkward with things that sound good theoretically, but when you experience them, they’re hard for you to accept.

[It may be hard to] accept that somebody really loves you, …that the best is in front of you, that you have something to offer the world. And you have to get that back, even at the expense of feeling like an immigrant in a new world of you.

T.D. Jakes

How these ideas helped me heal
My ultimate, big takeaway from my workplace abuse situation (after a lot of soul-searching — I’m talking years) was that no one defines me but me. I’d been taught to look for approval outside of myself. In fact, a lot of my self-worth was determined by external approval because I was used to feeling shame growing up — instead of accepting and loving me for all of me, flaws included.

It took me some time to unravel the norms I’d accepted: that I wasn’t good enough. It was a pain I’d gotten used to, even though I thought I loved myself. That is, until I heard a different definition of loving myself — that it included traits I didn’t love, but I was still worthy regardless.

The realization that helped me feel softer with myself (tending to my own needs as a priority) and in turn softer with others. It helped me practice respectfully setting boundaries, even if sometimes I messed it up. It helped me assert myself more, even if I wasn’t perfect at it.

I knew my needs mattered. My voice mattered. I mattered, even if I wasn’t perfect.

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