Pain according to Jane Fuller
Recently I came across a truly inspirational quote from British film producer, Jane Fuller – ‘Pain can only be triggered by another if there is pain inside you’. Jane is indeed a woman of many talents. As well as running an award-winning film production company in London, she writes for British news sites. But her quote struck me as being particularly true. If you are already angry it is very easy for other people to upset or annoy you. For example, you may have a health concern and are waiting on medical tests, stressed and worried you are liable to fly off the handle over the smallest thing. If someone is late, you explode. If your partner breaks a cup you let lose. You are only reacting with pain because there is already pain inside you. When the test results come back and you get the all clear you return to your usual sunny self!
However, it is worth considering that we also have deeper long-term hurts that sit within our core: fractured connections with family, broken relationships with partners. We have buried these hurts, but sometimes something happens that causes them to resurface. For example, when a romantic relationship ends you might find yourself mourning the loss of your partner, but also the loss of previous partners. You are effectively grieving a number of broken relationships. Or you may find yourself working with a dogmatic and uncompromising individual who reminds you of your father and suddenly you are grappling with feelings of anger towards that parent all over again. Pain can only be triggered by another person if there is already pain inside you.
Why we carry pain
Why do we all carry residual pain? The answer is pretty simple. We carry pain because we haven’t been able to forgive people who have hurt us. Jane Fuller writes that ‘forgiveness truly is the key to freedom with any issue in life’. You may or may not believe in the Bible, but it very clearly directs us to forgive. The Lord’s prayer goes “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” You might think the Bible gives us this commandment because God wants us all to be good folks. That is true, but we are also told to forgive so we don’t have to drag around our anger, bitterness and disappointment. That is heavy baggage to carry through life! You aren’t going to get very far if you are weighed down by all that rubbish. But if you forgive you get to leave all your hurt, disappointment, anger and outrage by the roadside. Another part of the Bible also says of Christianity, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light’.
Pain and forgiveness
I know that it is not always easy to forgive. Some people have suffered terrible injustices. They have been abused as children, betrayed by spouses and cheated out of fortunes. But I will let you into a secret. No injustice can have a permanent effect on you unless you hold onto the hurt. Please, leave the people who have hurt you behind. Simply grant them forgiveness and move on. You may have to accept that they are flawed and damaged. They are simply bad, perhaps even evil people. They have hurt and disappointed you but they have done what they have done. It can’t be undone – forgive them and leave them behind.
Forgiveness is so healing and healthy. You will feel happier and lighter after you forgive. Guilt, anger, shame and regrets are heavy burdens. If you have these feelings, you don’t have a monkey on your back, it’s more like a 100kg sumo wrestler. Leave this sumo wrestler behind and you will finally be able to enjoy today. If you harbour a grievance you are living in the past and reliving past hurts. Let the past go so you can enjoy what today has to offer. By letting go of hurts you release energy and let your soul fly!
Letting go of pain
Jane Fuller, who wrote that pain can only be triggered by another if there is pain inside you, had some great tips on forgiving. She suggests that meditation helps release the hold pain has on our thought patterns. Yes, meditation is great, but you know that I will go further and say prayer is even better. You get to call on God to help you forgive. Hey, we need all the help we can get!
Jane also believes that spending time in nature is a form of healing. Try walking on a beach or in a park. Writing or journaling is another excellent way of processing emotions.
I follow the advice of the lyrics of that song – try a little kindness. Commit random acts of kindness every day. Try to be good, indulgent even to all people, even strangers. Do not beep your car horn if someone is slow changing lanes, open a door for a mother struggling with a pram. Send your love out into the world, otherwise you will find that anger and exasperation eat you up.
Ms Fuller also suggests sending loving energy into your past. If it is not too painful, remember how you felt when you were most broken and tell that past version of yourself that you are strong and will care for them. You might want to consider joining a support group or even seeking trauma counselling from a registered psychologist if you have an exceptionally painful past to deal with.
Sometimes the main person we need to forgive is our self. We are all capable of being stupid, greedy, self-indulgent, vain and plain bad. Do not spend your whole life beating yourself up. Show and feel true remorse then start learning from your mistakes and become a better person. Jane Fuller wants us all to put our hands on our hearts and say “I forgive myself and I accept myself exactly as I am”.
The one quote I return to again and again is from Nelson Mandela who was unjustly imprisoned in a South African jail for 27 years. I will end by citing what Mr Mandela wrote in his biography:
As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.