To Feel Pain is to Be Human
When you start exercising at the gym, people remind you to listen to your body’s signals and to never push it further than its limits because overexertion of the muscles could lead to injury. Your mind is its own muscle. But instead of going to the gym once in a while, it is working constantly. Your mind is always thinking and feeling because you are a thinking and feeling being. Of course it’s going to reach a point of exhaustion when it’s continuously doing some heavy lifting. However, instead of taking a break to recharge, we are told to add some more weights and keep on lifting. Why is it that we ignore our mental health as a critical and integral part of our wellbeing?
The validity of mental health as a serious concern is oftentimes stigmatized and dismissed due to the misconception that it’s “not real”. There is a common belief that reality is predicated on tangibility, that something is real if, and only if, we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch it. It’s difficult for us comprehend the abstract concept of the mind and its consciousness as it is not something that is seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched. It is something that is felt and experienced. But the lack of physicality doesn’t make the truth of the mind any less real. Your mental health is true to you, and that is the only necessary evidence of its reality. Your thoughts are valid. Your feelings are valid. Your mental health is valid. You are valid.
There is a chain of reciprocity. Our mind’s eye is the tunnel through which we perceive and receive the surrounding world and, in turn, perceive and receive ourselves. When there is a single kink, the entire chain is compromised. In other words, when we don’t take the time to listen to the needs of our mental health and forget to nurture our minds, our entire wellbeing suffers. That is why it’s important to stay mentally grounded, to stay in conversation with your body and mind. Listen to its signals and take care of it because we are only given one.
We all encounter moments of weakness, moments of struggle, moments of suffering. But to admit the feeling of pain does not equate to admittance of defeat. To feel pain is to be human. Acknowledge the pain, embrace the pain, learn from the pain, grow from the pain. I’ll admit, it’s not an easy task, and, at times, it feels isolating. But you are not alone. We are all connected through our collective struggle. To share your pain with others is not an act of cowardice, but an act of courage. By acknowledging its presence, even if only to yourself, you validate its reality and its truth.
- Julia Eunji Choi -