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When It Hurts

All over the world today, people are in pain.  Emotional, physical, and mental anguish.

They will deal with their pain in different ways.  Some will:

  • I know the feeling

    It happens to us all


  • Remain in an abusive relationship
  • Second guess
  • Throw a punch
  • Get a second opinion
  • Blame themselves
  • Blame others
  • Yell at a customer service worker
  • Exercise
  • Quit their job
  • Laugh at themselves
  • Call their mothers
  • Blow themselves up
  • Refuse to submit
  • Eat
  • Write
  • Drink
  • Smoke
  • Follow the crowd
  • Backslide
  • Break a promise
  • Reevaluate
  • Make new goals
  • Break through barriers
  • Learn something new about themselves
  • Buy shoes
  • Waste money
  • Lie
  • Take a contrast bath
  • Steal
  • Reconnect with an old friend
  • Forgive
  • Argue
  • Take up cursing
  • Poke a voodoo doll
  • Get a massage
  • Find God
  • Lose faith
  • Join a support group
  • Post a sad Facebook Update
  • Tweet
  • Sleep on the couch
  • Walk away
  • Nap
  • Pray
  • Listen to sad music
  • Flirt
  • Wish for a time machine
  • Divorce
  • Remember a Kurt Vonnegut Quote
  • Learn how to pronounce the name of a disease they’ve never heard of
  • Hire a lawyer
  • Enlist
  • Become something more than they were the day before

Sometimes it will hurt to be you.  Decide today what you will do with your pain.  Choose wisely.

Evolve, don’t crumble.


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Photo credit: Cyril Playpied

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Patty - Why Not Start Now? November 12, 2009, 3:48 am

    Good list, Josh. I’m all for a big, cathartic cry. With a long walk, a look at the stars, and a glimpse of tomorrow. Which is not to say I haven’t had my share of backsliding, arguing, eating, and sleeping through the pain. Because life is complicated.

  • Christa Avampato November 12, 2009, 5:23 am

    Josh – this is just the boost I needed before heading out for the day. I have a feeling it’s going to be a tough one and I’m going to embrace the last item on your list: “Become something more than they were the day before”.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 8:54 am

      Christa, this day is going to be your footstool. I see it in a vision!

  • Laura Cococcia November 12, 2009, 6:09 am

    I think just reading these words written down helped me to see the different ways I deal with my sadness / anger. I always try to remember to be kind to myself however how I choose to deal – but that can be the most difficult part for me too. Josh – thanks.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 8:54 am

      I believe that you can only worth as much to others as you are worth to yourself. That’s why it’ s a good idea to figure out how to love yourself first. You will be of more benefit to others and won’t resent them when they get to enjoy all the great things about you, but you still second guess yourself at every turn. But keep some of that rage, just turn it into outrage–you’ll get some great writing out of it:)

  • Lisis November 12, 2009, 6:45 am

    Wow, Josh… I’ve GOT to borrow that last line for my post tomorrow (with attribution, of course!). 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 8:52 am

      Lisis, borrow away, as long as I get that guest post. Don’t think I’m forgetting.

      • Lisis November 12, 2009, 9:44 am

        I need to learn that Jedi mind trick to use on you… “You WILL forget about that guest post…”


        • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 9:48 am

          That would only work if I wasn’t as corpulent and corrupt as Jabba.

          • Lisis November 12, 2009, 10:24 am

            Ha! Thanks for that nightmarish visual. Duly noted. I’ll have to take this new development into account in my “should I guest post or not?” mental debate.

  • John November 12, 2009, 7:15 am

    Very powerful post, Josh. We should strive to be better than we were before. Even if it is painful…

    Some have a harder time progressing onward than others, but those who can overcome even the toughest pain will receive the greatest rewards.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 8:52 am

      Pain can be one of the most galvanizing or crippling forces on the planet. But if we only go around once, letting discomfort cripple you is a great way to let the years race by while you stand still.

  • Joe D. November 12, 2009, 8:41 am

    In my younger years, did a lot of drinking and throwing punches when angry or hurt. It was all a knee jerk reaction, really. Now I do a lot of searching to find a better way. But I don’t experience any “hurt” now, as much as I used to. Maybe I brought a lot of it on myself back then….

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 8:51 am

      Joe, glad to hear it. When you find the better way, sell it, get rich, and come write a guest post about it.

  • Eric | Eden Journal November 12, 2009, 9:22 am

    That is a comprehensive list. I had a funny thought reading it of putting the list on a dart board and letting chance determine the reaction. But then you throw in that whole “choose wisely” thing and the dart board doesn’t work out so well. Great use of a list to make a point, the list pretty much speaks for itself!

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 9:49 am

      Eric, thank you. It’s not quite comprehensive. I could have broken down every recreational drug and microbrew:)

  • Jay Schryer November 12, 2009, 9:25 am

    I love the last part:

    “Sometimes it will hurt to be you. Decide today what you will do with your pain. Choose wisely.”

    I think this is really important for people to hear, because so often we forget that we can choose how we respond. So many people go through life on auto-pilot, responding to stimuli in the same way that they always have; never learning, never growing, never evolving (as you put it).

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 9:48 am

      Reaction is always what gets me in trouble. I’m working on it, but if I don’t try to visualize certain situations, reaction often becomes an overreaction.

  • Amy Jurrens November 12, 2009, 10:11 am

    My current pain is a result of working through a major life change in regard to nutrition. I’ve decided to view the pain as a sign that I am making the necessary changes. No pain, no gain. Breaking habits is a long, stressful process. It will take some pain as I adjust to a new way of living. I’ve been here before. I know my process. It’s just not comfortable right now, making it tough to stay the course. I also know that the “juice is worth the squeeze,” so I am working hard to make me a better, healthier person.

  • Shane November 12, 2009, 10:20 am

    Josh, you forgot one more way…


    I shall do so today.

  • Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl November 12, 2009, 10:44 am

    Evolve, don’t crumble.

    Very emotional, moving post…

    Beautiful, Josh!!!

  • Tim November 12, 2009, 12:56 pm

    Hi Josh:

    Great post…it probably doesn’t have as many words as your average post but it has a huge amount of wisdom. You had a key word in there: choice. All of us will face pain and adversity, but the question is how we choose to respond. And hey, if there’s a Kurt Vonnegut quote that can help…all the better. Thanks for a great post here and a guest post at my place.

  • Sami - Life, Laughs & Lemmings November 12, 2009, 5:58 pm

    Dealing with hurt/pain for me generally takes this path of reaction;

    Feeling sorry for myself
    Heading to the beach
    Getting some perspective
    Making a decision to find the lesson or use the experience for motivation to keep living like I mean it.

    Some are healthier responses than others but they all play their part.

    Great post Josh.

  • Srinivas Rao November 12, 2009, 6:35 pm


    That is a great list and I can easily say just from a scan I’ve done a dozen of them when it hurts. But, I always manage to evolve and each time I evolve I do less and less of those things. So, l say let yourself hurt, and evolve.

  • Daisy November 12, 2009, 7:56 pm

    Great list. I had a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day at school, including interactions with the police and with the superintendent, but all in all? Life is good. I have a challenging job that (most days) is a delight.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 9:00 pm

      That’s the spirit. Sounds like a thrill ride.

  • Karina November 12, 2009, 9:09 pm

    Having worked in the Customer Service department for many years (basically all of high school and University), I have seen so many people take their pain out on my coworkers or myself. By the time I started working at the Holiday Inn, I became very good at dealing with these people – I even earned myself the ‘crazy’ title because I would willingly deal with these people. For the first few years I was terrified of being yelled at and would usually be very sour afterward. But then I realized that they just need to vent. So, I let them. I stopped letting it bother me. I even managed to make some of these angry customers come back, time and time again. When asked why in surveys – some answered that they were welcomed even on their bad days.

    Personally, I eat and I argue. Both pretty toxic.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 12, 2009, 9:39 pm

      I sold women’s shoes at Dillard’s for two months during a Christmas season. Now that was pain. All I could do to stop it was eat a calzone at sbarro’s every hour.

  • Monica November 13, 2009, 3:39 am

    “Evolve, don’t crumble.”

    I am going to tape this line to my wall and I am going to look at it every time I feel pain.

    Thank You.

  • Brittany November 13, 2009, 3:34 pm

    Josh, this is a great list (you’ve probably heard that enough by now)!
    It’s a reminder that there is a universal blanket covering us all which is, at one point or another, pain. And it’s almost comforting in a weird way to know that we’re not the only one struggling, because it’s something that everyone inevitably experiences. And it’s hard that it has to be that way, but I think it’s something that can be positive through relationship with others. Thanks!

  • Stephanie Smith November 17, 2009, 7:54 am

    You have a “lightbulb” blog Josh -I never cease to be amazed, reminded and inspired. I have needed this more than ever these days when everything seems to crumble around me and I feel like I have fallen down the rabbit hole…

  • Michelle McGee November 19, 2009, 9:29 pm

    Josh, when Jacob was diagnosed I went through many of the things on your list but the one I seemed to do the most was call my mother for reassurance that I could be the person Jacob needed me to be – the strong one. I had no idea that he would turn out to be the one who was strong for me.
    I hope one day my boys rely on me for reassurance during the inevitable painful times in life.
    I am really enjoying your blog. So glad to have found you. I told Jacob about you and he’s always excited to know I have “met” someone else who gets who he is.
    Believe, Michelle