We All Have to Own Our Pain. Nations Do Too

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All of us have to own the pain that comes from living. 

The pain that comes from not having what we want, even though we have worked hard for it.

The pain of living that comes from realizing that nature gave us so much and that is it. 

The pain of living that comes from recognizing others have more than we do. 

The pain that comes from not having behaved as we would have liked to.

The pain of living that will not go away and yet we must learn to manage.

To manage it we have to look at it. Squarely. In detail.

And if we at first flinch or turn away, we then must take a deep breath and look again.

Look again till we understand it. 

And then accept it.

Accepting it does not mean the pain will go away. 

We accept so we can learn from it.

Every single one of us has to look at their own pain. No one can spare us from it. 

If they offer to, say ‘thank you but no, thanks’.

Facing our pain is at the core of the journey for existence each of us embarks in when we come to this world.

Yes, it has moment of beauty. Even happiness. Moments.

And like individuals, so with nations.

Nations are more than a collection of individuals, just like the liver is more than a collection of liver cells. To make up the liver they have organized themselves according to various functions for the sake of a purpose.

And that sum total of individuals that come together to form a nation bring their individual pain with them, which adds up to the total pain of the nation.

And the pain has to be looked at. Squarely. In detail.

The pain has to be looked at again and again until we get it. We as in the people and We as in the nation.

Sharing our individual pain with another human being offers comfort, soothing and perspective. But it is our individual pain. 

No one can suffer for you. 

We need our pain so we can improve ourselves. Push harder. Try and be the best we can be. 

Our pain is a catalyst for action. It spurs us to growth. To take chances. And when accomplishment comes then we realize what great soother it is. 

But it won’t erase the pain. 

It helps manage it.

Nations that don’t look at their pain cannot reach their potential. 

Leaders who don’t help us look at our pain are not leaders.

They are in it for personal gain or for the gain of a special group.

There is no forward movement without owning our pain, which if allowed to grow becomes rage. 

We cannot own our rage unless we understand it.

When pain or rage owns us we cannot direct it properly, and so pain not owned may lead us to blame others for our distress. And so pile additional pain upon their pain. 

A nation that does not dialogue with itself is a nation that has preferred to blame others instead.

In America, the dialogue about race has been forever postponed, and it is only now moving up to the top of the list where it belongs because of circumstances.

If a young man had not videotaped the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we would not have known the fullness of our anger and the officer who pinned him down until he died would have been back on the beat, searching for someone else to pin down.

Even with that, if it had not been for the coronavirus, we would have reelected the previous president.

Think about it.

If we would have reelected our previous president we would have continued to be distracted by tweets and temper tantrums, and we would have postponed, again, talking to ourselves and to others about our pain. 

Pain that is not looked at and understood becomes rage.

Think about it.

Oscar Valdes


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