To Khanyi, with love. Embrace your power, your beauty, your uniqueness. Don’t wait for anyone to tell you how amazing you are— tell it to yourself. Thank you for inspiring me.
One of the most important things in life is knowing how to deal with or manage pain when unpleasant things happen. Life will throw us curveballs at times, and we must learn how to handle ourselves when the unexpected occurs. I don’t have all the answers (and perhaps my views will change as I get older), but from what I’ve experienced, this is what I can share: when something painful happens to you, allow yourself to feel that pain. Resist the temptation to run, or hide or pretend it doesn’t hurt. Fight the urge to say, “Everything is alright,” when it’s really not. Honor yourself with the truth— your truth. Take off any pressure you or others have put on you to appear intact; unfazed or even perfect. Be brave enough to tell yourself (most importantly) the truth. It’s emotionally devastating to feel like everything is falling apart, but sometimes the best thing to do is to let it. Scream. Cry. Express yourself. Learn to do the hard thing of owning how you feel and in so doing, you’ll set yourself, and many others around you, free.
When we pretend something doesn’t hurt, we lie to ourselves and we dishonor who we are, as a result, the pain doesn’t go away. Instead, it gains power over us the longer we run from it. It waits for us to be a little happy again and reminds us that “This won’t last.” It torments us daily until we’re living in insecurity. It whispers the lie in our ear, “You’ll never be truly happy.” It turns us into bitter, pessimistic, judgmental people. Pain not dealt with has long term consequences because it grows and festers, until it becomes overwhelming— and then it taints everything good in our lives. It leads us to question and doubt if we are loved. It steals away our innocence and undermines every good thing in our lives. Worst of all, pain denied attacks and destroys the most meaningful relationships to us— relationships that took years to build.
As scary as this may be, pain was never meant to be hidden, it is to be felt, deeply and then released. None of us are exempt, we must go through this. Even if we don’t know what to do with it exactly, pain is to be endured, confronted, acknowledged— not denied. And know this: when you’re brave enough to face it head on, it loses its power over you. When you dare to cry through it, talk through it, pray about it, walk boldly through it, you suddenly discover that you can (and must) live beyond it. Each day becomes more bearable, and you feel stronger somehow. Before you know it, you’ll smile again, laugh again and be much happier than you remember yourself being. Pain demands to be felt but that is not the end; it must also be released.
One of these days, beautiful girl, you’ll realize that the power to heal yourself was within your grasp all along. You’ll discover that every tear you cry does not go wasted, and the experiences you go through prepare you for an incredible future you didn’t see coming. You see, everything we survive in life leads us to even greater doors and an opportunity to encourage others.
Oh honey, look how far you’ve come!
Love and light,
Nono (Cele) Xaba