Finding Strength

Pain has always been a familiar friend to me. It’s a feeling I know probably too well and while I like to believe that recurrence makes me experienced, it’s not one of those things you’d want to feel or experience over and over again. People say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t wear you down.

If anything, pain has made me numb, scared to trust, and sometimes difficult to be with or work with. It has made me immature, sensitive, inconsistent, and constantly hurting. As a result, I’ve hurt a lot of people around me with my decisions, words and actions.

But the thing about pain is that it is a good teacher; a difficult teacher, but a good one. We like to believe we’re strong and so we push ourselves to love until we’re weary, to try until we’re bruised, but when we’re truly tired of pain, we learn to give ourselves a break and just leave it behind. We walk away because we learn and know better. We get up because there’s no other way but up.

Last year, I tried to focus strictly on friends and family, being with people who gave me positive energy who I know for a fact, helps me get over a few hurdles. I got to know myself a little bit more. I also learned why I became completely dependent on the happiness of others, and why I inadvertently reflected on people the pain I felt from others. I know I worked my hardest to change these things not because I wanted to please others, but because I genuinely wanted to become a better version of myself. All I wanted for myself was growth and by midyear, I knew I was already pretty much getting there. I cared less about what people said, gave it thought and just tried to turn things around. I became less inconsistent, immature and overly-sensitive. Instead I tried to be rational about things, become smarter with my feelings and actions. I took responsibility for the mistakes I made or would make, and accepted that happiness came with a price. It was then that I realized that pain makes you a better and stronger person.

But another thing about pain is that you are never fully prepared for it. It’s kind of like preparing for war, but never being prepared enough for when it actually comes. Pain will always hit where it hurts the most, no matter how much you’ve grown or how much preparation you’ve given yourself prior to the punch. But what do you do when it hits you? You get up. You walk it off. Slowly or as quickly as you can, either way, you just get up. Walk it off, because it will never last.

The greatest gift you can give yourself after experiencing pain is time. In the end, what truly matters to me is that we are able to give ourselves the self-respect we deserve. It’s been a long and cruel journey of pain- brushing it off, tripping over, and getting back up again. I still have a lot to work on. But I know I can’t just give up just because I’ve been constantly hurt, I still have so much going for me. I know I slip up, we all do. We mess up, we make mistakes, but we can always learn from them. We can turn the mistakes we’ve made around because we haven’t stopped growing, and we won’t stop growing.
In the end, it’s okay to get hurt, it’s okay to feel pain. But never forget to get up, never forget you’re more than what you think you’re worth. Hopefully one day you can tell yourself you’re good at being yourself, and you’re good for something without having to hear it from anyone else but yourself.

About the Contributor

Krizia Lim is twenty-something-year-old heart-headed graphic designer and illustrator. When she’s not busy adding color and fun to the design world one vibrant illustration at a time, she’s out on a self-seeking “soul-searching” foodventure, being an extrovert somewhere around the corner, or listening to some of the indie-electronic, urban-jazz, future-funk music she listens to on loop.

This contributor is a customer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.

Artwork by Natasha Jacinto. For more of her work, visit her Tumblr.

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