living with feeling thumbnailSometimes, life sucks.

That is inescapable for every human – and probably most other animals – who has ever lived. Even the most privileged people have days when they don’t want to get out of bed and face the world. And when things get that bad for those who don’t have a comfortable background to rely on, it can mean resorting to the worst.

Sometimes, life can hurt so badly that it feels like the only option is to numb all the bad feelings out.

This is when you know someone has hit the absolute bottom. This is when their friends start worrying.

This is when everyone else notices that there’s a problem, but all you can see is how much less painful everything is.

This is when people drink until they can’t feel their soul. Or they smoke or swallow or inject something much stronger to kill off all the hurt. Sometimes, people just give up and stop feeling. They stop caring about their love – their dreams – their passion. Whatever it was that disappointed them has done it one too many times. Now they don’t want to try any more.

And what they don’t realise is that numbing the pain does not make things better.

Once you stop caring about the things that hurt you, that’s when they have won.

Once you stop chasing after the things you care about, that’s when you have lost them forever. That’s when you’ve lost everything.

Numbing yourself to pain might stop it hurting immediately, but it seeps through to the rest of your life until you’re numb to everything else you might feel. In the same way you reduce your pain, you minimise your capability to feel joy and love and excitement and humour.

Once you turn off your ability to feel, you lose so much.

It’s a horrible fact of life that in order to appreciate joy you have to understand pain. And sometimes it feels like what little happiness life has for you is not worth the pain that it throws in alongside. But once you’ve given up on ever being content again, you lose any chance you have left of ever doing so.

It is always, always better to feel the pain, so you can feel joy with equal intensity, than to numb away all your emotions to the point that you forget how to be happy.

Live for what pleasure you can find in life. Remember that everything is temporary in this world, including the bad things. And when you finally get to shake them off, you’re going to want to feel the relief that comes after.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.