Feel Your Pain: mini-mission

Feel Your Pain: mini-mission

I was in the car this morning, listening to the radio at 6:40 a.m. my time, 8:40 a.m. Eastern. That’s exactly where I was and what I was doing 11 years ago today.

On the radio this morning, I heard, “The first plane hit at 8:46 Eastern and we will have a moment of silence to remember”. I almost changed the station. Instead, I distracted myself with thoughts of what I had to do, and then… everything was quiet and immediately tears welled up in my eyes. I swallowed them.

And then I let them fall. I felt my pain. I felt your pain. I felt their pain.

We spend so much time, money and energy trying to mask our pain. Anything, not to feel.

  • We stuff our pain with food.
  • We shop our pain away at the mall.
  • We hide from our pain online.
  • We medicate our pain.
  • We change the subject of our pain.
  • We drug and drink our pain away.

“We are the most in debt, obese, addicted, 

and medicated adult cohort in US history.”  – Brene Brown

This mini-mission gives you permission, and even more, it begs you to feel your pain. Feel the pain of today, yesterday and maybe tomorrow. Feel it.

Let the pain from tragic events, childhood memories, broken hearts, and disappointment wash over you. Admit regret, shame and embarrassment. Cry for loss and hug your discomfort.

Food, pills, shopping, or your drug of choice will not heal your brokenness. You might look put together. You may even feel better, but your pain will continue to do damage. Your pain will be evident in the way you treat yourself and others, and in how you let people treat you.

Feel your pain and offer hope to your hurting heart. Feel your pain and let the healing begin. Once you feel, admit and embrace whatever it is that hurts so much, you can ask for help, fix what you can, and then dig in to living better and loving more deeply.

Only when you feel your pain will you know how to let it go. Only when you feel your pain can you embrace the joy, love and happiness that you deserve.

For more experiments to simplify your life, read Mini-missions for Simplicity. It’s available on the Amazon Kindle store, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.


  1. says

    “You may even feel better, but your pain will continue to do damage.”

    Good point. It is something I think I knew, but could not put into words.


  2. says

    Feeling it helps you process it. Also, I’m a firm believe that feeling pain helps you appreciate the good things even more. You can’t have the highs without the lows!

  3. Kmpiperuk says

    After years of suffering from undiagnosed Pure O OCD , I finally met a counsellor who helped me. Of all the many hours I spent talking I learnt one fundamental thing. It is not talking or rationalizing about your issues that cures it is the feelings that you cannot express in words that matter. He used to say to me, that’s very interesting, but how did you feel not what did you think. It was hard to answer as so many of us are used to using our mouth to express ourselves and our mind the structure it, when in reality feelings are neither structured and often cannot be vocalized.

    Pain is within us all, and it is so important to embrace this feeling , understand it, accept it as part of being human.

    Love the article

    • Courtney Carver says

      Thanks so much for sharing that. Working with a counselor or other trained professional can be so important.

  4. says

    SING IT SISTER!!!!!!

    Seriously, I am a firm believer that 90% of the ills of modern society are caused by our simple refusal to feel our own emotions. I know that for me personally, trying to avoid my feelings has been the cause of the vast majority of the “problems” in my life. And for me it isn’t just pain, it’s all the other inconvenient little feelings that we’re all supposed to “control” – like anger, and jealously, and sexuality etc, etc, etc. It’s an ongoing process, but learning to feel things and stop running away has been the passageway to incredible life-altering change for me.

    • says

      I wonder though about the past, like the Greatest Generation of WWII. That was a culture that definitely discouraged the showing of emotions. Nose to the grindstone, do it because we have to and we have no other choice. And look what became of them.

      Then again, they didn’t have the copious amounts of food, drugs, alcohol, and credit available to them that we do now.

      Thought-provoking post.

      • says

        Hi Joanna,

        I’m not sure if you were responding to my comment or to the post in general, but in either case, I’ll weigh in because really, when have you known me to pass up an opportunity to blather? :)

        Seriously though, I’m not sure that we are really in a good position to judge the realities of what life was like for previous generations. We just really don’t know whether they experienced happiness or not. But what I do know, however, is that both of my grandfathers served in WWII, came home and proceeded to abuse their families and drink themselves into early graves. Who can say how much of that was due to their stoicism and repression of the atrocities that they witnessed, but in any case, I don’t think that it helped.

        I guess I just think that in general, it’s never a good idea to romanticize the lives of others… whether they lived generations ago or are living right down the block today. Because inevitably when we look at other people we see some combination of the image they are trying to present as well as our own projections. So it’s very easy to say “See… look at them! They’ve got it all figured out!” when the reality may be nothing of the sort.


  5. says

    At first glance, this seems like such a nice, simple, easy mini-mission. And the more I thought of it, the more I realized it’s anything but. I’m positive when I begin this one, it will get ugly, difficult and resistant.

    AND…I’m positive that as I continue, I’ll break through the ugly and see the beauty that resulted. I’m positive that as I continue, I’ll break through difficult will shed layer by layer until the sweet core becomes totally, head-smackingly obvious. And I’m positive that as I continue, the resistance will break down little by little and I’ll finally allow myself to leave the past behind.

    Thanks Courtney. At the most profound level…thank you.

  6. says

    Sadly, since returning to Canada, I have to say it is the same here. Instead of trusting body and soul to work through whatever it may be and ultimately resolve what is causing the pain, far to many are going on “anti-depressant” meds to block it.

    Today I sorted through some boxes of (important to me) mementoes and memories. Half way through the process the tears started to roll–some happy, some very sad. I’m tired now, feeling a bit drained, but good too. Letting it flow really helps.

    Thanks for sharing and getting dialogue going Courtney

    • Carolyn O'Shea says

      Major depression is a paralyzing condition that cannot be sobbed away. Nor should it be trivialized.

      Until you walk in the shoes of those afflicted, you best not judge them.

      And until you go to medical school, you best not diagnose them.

      • Courtney Carver says

        Carolyn, Major depression and other mental illness is not what I’m referring to in this post. I highly recommend a professional medical assessment and treatment for those conditions.

        That said, self diagnoses and poor diagnoses lead some people to be medicated when they shouldn’t be. That’s not a judgement on anyone taking anti-depressants, just the situation.

      • says

        Sorry if what I said came across as “trivializing” major depression, that certainly was not my intent. My mother suffered from severe mental distress, and medication and proper medical attention brought her through. http://youtu.be/bH_cdYL0UkE

        That said, I also agree, whole heartedly, with Courtney that “self-diagnoses and poor diagnosis lead some people to be medicated when they shouldn’t be.”

  7. says

    Thank you for this, Courtney. I am working with this, am in the thick of it right now, so to have the gentle reminder to keep trying, to stay with it, that running from it, numbing it or otherwise rejecting it won’t work is so important.

  8. says


    This is a wonderful message :)
    Pain is a taboo in our society. And I am as guilty as the next person. I’ve been writing (among other things) about my pain and counseling experience, but I still haven’t had the guts to get behind my ‘pseudonym’.
    I don’t know how it is in the USA, but in Portugal, mental health is something that remains almost unspoken, and untreated – or badly treated, by an immersion in medication…
    Thanks for your words.

  9. says

    Thank you for this! So eloquently put! We just lost our beloved dog Zeke and our hearts are breaking. I was just on the edge of thinking I will intentionally ‘just down the pain’ by not allowing my mind to go there. This post reinforced what I already knew and it takes courage and support to stick with it. Thanks for the support I needed at just the right moment.

  10. says

    When many tragedies hit at once – pain can overwhelm. Too much – too strong to take. You can actually lose your mind a little. I have learned that yes, it is good to feel the pain. Everything you wrote makes perfect sense … sometimes however, you have to sort out the order you can feel the pain in – or you drown in it. Key is to then let it go … move on to healing… and sometime you have to take one pain at a time.

  11. says

    Hi Courtney.

    I still love your site.

    On this particular mission: this is something I wish I could do, but one that I do not want to. I have faced my pain a few times in the past 2 yrs, and it was horrible. It took me to a place I never want to be in again. It did make me feel better for a while afterwards, maybe even months, but it always comes back. After seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist for 5 years, suicide attempts, depression for that long, hospitalisations, etc., nothing has changed. I embraced minimalism about 4 months ago, and have never felt better about myself. But, the pain and hurt of the past still remains and doesn’t look like it will ever leave or turn into a neutral memory instead of a reality of the feelings.

    I have given up. Lovely article though. I hope it works for others. :)