Showing where it hurts

Some people are frightened by change while others embrace it as the only way forward. Keep in mind that the people you surround yourself with might be surprised by the change in your life and it might take some time for them to adjust to the new you. In his article titled “Don’t bury your feelings”, Dr Barton Goldsmith, who is an emotional fitness expert, mentions how we act differently when we bury our feelings. “Being in touch with your feelings will make you a better person as well as a parent or partner,” he says.

When we were younger we did not hesitate to answer the question: “Where does it hurt?” Although then the question usually referred to physical pain, it is a relevant question regarding emotional pain too. We answer the question with little resistance to the admission of pain. As the years go by, [ ] we begin to hide the pain, sometimes even from ourselves. But denying the pain does not make it go away.

So why do we insist on putting on a brave face? Showing pain is seen as a sign of vulnerability, but the misconception we have is that it is a sign of weakness – especially among men. In his book “Unspoken Words of a Gentleman”, Pierre Alex Jeanty speaks about how it is not a crime to cry, especially when you are a man.

He assertively states that the only crime is the disallowance of a man to express his emotions but to instead bottle them up, resulting in a ripple effect of negative consequences. Show people where it hurts, especially the ones closest to you, is a vital way to increase trust in relationships. Most importantly, it is where the healing begins.

In a world where every person has a unique walk of life, it is unfortunate that we might not all have people we can open up to in our daily lives. At Nelson Mandela University, this need is catered for by the Student Counselling Centre, where students can receive the psychological support they need for mental and emotional growth. If there is unresolved pain in your life, consider being brave enough to show someone where it hurts.

Photographer: Thando Khanda

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