What Does the Pain Mean to You?


Yesterday I was asked this question, “What does the pain mean to you?”

A simple and profound question. It goes beyond the fear of pain itself. It quickly gets to the root. Mentally and emotionally, what does the pain represent? What other fears and/or emotions are being unconsciously entwined with the pain? Supporting it? Amplifying it? Prolonging it?

Knowing and naming them, you can begin to address them. Go beyond the symptom and work on the core challenges.

For any pain you feel in this moment, be it emotional or physical; what does it mean to you?

If you can’t break through the superficial, then identify something you are feeling when you think about or experience the pain. Then dig with why. Say you feel sad. Ask yourself, “Why?” You’ll get an answer. Then ask, “Why?” again. Ask “Why?” multiple times until you get to what feels like the bottom. Then ask it one more time. This is likely the personal truth that was buried in your subconscious. This is the core challenge you will address.

Here’s what came up when I did this exercise:

What does this pain mean to me?

It represents the uncertainty while I take this leap of faith.

It represents the fear of being fully seen and judged.

It represents the fear of not having enough resources. Of running out.

It represents the fear of being limited. (Funny enough, I realize that I have limited myself more than any external source.)

It represents the fear of not being independent and needing to rely on others.

That fear is core. Being independent is the skill I developed to avoid needing others, being hurt and being abandoned.

Thus, it represents the fear of being hurt and abandoned.

I am angry at being hurt and feeling abandoned as a child.

This pain is none of those. It is a symptom. A physical manifestation of these fears and emotions.

I will address the core challenges:

  • The uncertainty of this life shift.
  • The fear of not having enough resources.
  • The fear of being hurt.
  • The fear of being abandoned.
  • The repressed anger.