‘It Hurts Because it Mattered’

5

20 September 2013 by thaliakr

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Image credit: hellyeahjustlikethat

Add this to your list of empathetic things it might be appropriate to say to someone in pain (though we’re usually better to say very little, and just listen well and offer a hug): it hurts because it matters.

This is from author John Green (he co-wrote the charming and brilliant Will Grayson, Will Grayson, among other things). He said in a vlog:

I said to someone I know, ‘I don’t know why this hurts so much.’

And she said, ‘It hurts because it mattered.’

That was a huge thing for me to realise. That there are things in life that hurt, and that they hurt because they were important.

John Green gives a bit more context and reflection on his tumblr:

It was my supervisor who finally helped me understand why I was so sad, and that I should feel sad. So often we try to make other people feel better by minimizing their pain, by telling them that it will get better (which it will) or that there are worse things in the world (which there are). But that’s not what I actually needed. What I actually needed was for someone to tell me that it hurt because it mattered.

I have found this very useful to think about over the years, and I find that it is a lot easier and more bearable to be sad when you aren’t constantly berating yourself for being sad.

What do you think, friends?

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5 thoughts on “‘It Hurts Because it Mattered’

  1. Rebekah Noakes says:

    Yes I agree! Where is it ever written that we must always be happy? So much easier to deal with sadness and heartbreak if we we don’t also have to feel bad about feeling bad! Isn’t actually said blessed are those who mourn, the poor in spirit?

  2. Angela says:

    But of course! Of course! I wrote this recently, to grief:
    The bad that you are is a mirrored reflection of all the good that I had. Your power and immensity are the same magnitude as my love for my husband. And that is why I will live with you forever and why you are winning this battle.

  3. ironchefwa says:

    It is awful to feel guilty for feeling sad, and I think our culture can reinforce that feeling of being “berated” for being sad or negative. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a really interesting book on the topic called “Smile or Die” about how exhortations to be happy or positive about everything can be detrimental and even delusional, in situations were feeling grief or anger are natural and appropriate.

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