It is so easy to run back to the things that made us once feel whole, whether that thing is a painting, childhood movies that once solved every problem or a person who once was the source of your happiness. Sometimes our source of happiness may even take the form of a potential opportunity, but what happens when that opportunity bypasses us? How are you supposed to respond if that source is now the reason why you’re breaking apart? We sometimes forget that it is okay to release it. Often, we become so immersed in our pain that we eventually make a home in it. However, if you never release your pain, it will paint itself in different aspects of your life. 

For me, pain dipped itself in a missed opportunity and transformed into depression. But before this happened, it started with an involuntary diet. I lacked an appetite, and I always felt drained. My mood was always up and down. I could not even blame it on the fact that I am a Gemini. I thought that hiding myself away from the world would protect me from feeling the bitter taste of heartbreak. When you are too far in your pain, there is a numbness that settles over you. Pain has a way of making darkness resemble watercolors.

It is okay to let go and grieve the things that no longer make you feel alive. Many times, our pain is hidden in our grief. However, if we are not careful, grief can easily turn into stress. Now stress can affect our body in many different ways. According to Psychology Today, “Some additional symptoms that people report include general aches and pains, shortness of breath, feeling anxious and agitated, headaches, fatigue, experiencing heaviness in the body, and muscle weakness.”

There were days that I barely was able to get out of my bed. The feeling of drowsiness overwhelmed me. One morning I decided to go to church virtually. I felt this sense of peace capture me. When you’re having these overwhelming thoughts of sadness, it is important to surround yourself with a community that fills you. Whether it is your family, friends, an organization or church, make sure you are around someone who truly knows you. Surround yourself with people who will recognize when you are not okay. It is so easy for us to become a hermit when our life looks abstract. 

Your community should not only build you but tell you the things that you need to hear. When you’re hurt, forgiveness sounds foreign. For many of us, forgiving feels like pouring salt on an open wound. In actuality, forgiveness is purifying that hurt and turning it into a place of comfort. Forgiveness causes you to heal healthy without permanent scarring. Forgiveness many times is easier said than done. 

For me, it was learning how to forgive myself. Sometimes it is easier to forgive other people than it is yourself. As a religious person, when someone else has hurt me, I find it easier to pray for them. The more positive things I wish them, the more those bitter thoughts tend to evacuate. It is hard to pray for yourself without feeling like you are condemning yourself. 

However, I learned that it is okay to have empathy for yourself. We are not born knowing everything. As humans, we do not always make the best choices for ourselves and that is okay. Letting go of these harsh expectations that we must get everything right the first time will help us to realize that everyone is imperfect. When I learned to let go, I realized that just because my life did not look like the picture, I intended it to be, did not make it any less of a masterpiece.