“pain demands to be felt”

June 16, 2014Karen Courcy

depressionI drifted off to sleep Saturday evening, I was tired – exhausted even, and it was within a half hour of falling off to sleep I jerked awake, and when I woke I began to cry out of my sleep.

I felt this incredible sadness come over me.

I felt alone, I felt unsure, I felt sad for the physical pain I am going through and all these doctor appointments and tests and unsureness.

As I sat there alone in the dark with tears in my eyes, this quote that I heard the weekend before at a movie I saw came back to me “Pain demands to be felt” and I finally understood why that quote resonated with me for a good week before I could understand it and write about it.

Pain demands to be felt

When I see and hear that quote I believe there is a reason the pain is here, and I am really starting to believe that in order to heal the wounds that pain us, we need to address the wounds and feel the pain.

When I heard this quote in the movie I saw, it hit me so hard that I almost ran out of the theater, because I felt emotions screaming to the forefront and I just wanted to throw myself to the flood and cry! “PAIN demands to be felt” and I wanted to know why this quote hit me so hard.

My therapist told me about a book that he has read many times, and I decided to download it on my tablet this past weekend, the book is called “Why bad things happen to good people” by Harold S Kushner

In the book I found a quote that talks about pain and what it means and that quote was “Pain is the price we pay for being alive“.

When we understand that, our question goes from “why do we have to feel pain” to “what do we do with our pain so that it becomes meaningful and not pointless empty suffering?”

How can we turn all the painful experiences of our lives into “birth pangs or into growing pains

We may not understand why we suffer or be able to control the forces that cause our suffering, but we can have a lot to say about what the suffering does to us, and who we become because of it.

So when I woke up Sunday morning in a puddle of tears, feeling pain that I couldn’t understand, I sat with the quote yet again “pain demands to be felt”.

Maybe by me waking up and allowing myself to cry instead of trying so hard to shut it off – it will heal something inside that needs to be healed. Maybe this pain I feel demands to be felt in a way so that I can understand it more.

As I sat there and began understanding this more, I wasn’t just feeling the pain anymore, I was understanding “WHY” I was in pain and “WHY” I was crying.

I knew what was wrong, I knew why I was feeling the pain, I knew what I woke up crying about, and I understand why that pain woke me up and demanded me to feel it.

I have been struggling with a lot of things the past couple of years. I have been faced with medical issues, emotional pain from something that hit me deeply a couple of years ago. I have been faced with some pretty hard stuff even in this year alone, and maybe instead of trying to ‘fix it” maybe the answer is “feeling it”.

I am one to always shut off the emotions as quick as I can and to say “we need to fox this, I need to feel better”.. maybe all that needs to be done is to feel the pain I feel, talk about the pain I feel and maybe just for once just say to myself “I know I feel this pain, and I know I hurt, but this is how I feel and this is good enough in this moment, because maybe this is the healing process”.

There is also pain put upon us that we don’t deserve to feel, done by others out of our control.. but that pain is the kind of pain that can be healed by our choice – making the wrong done by others our empowerment to heal.

That is the harder pain to heal; pain that should have never happened, but we can take that empowerment back by healing us in ways that the pain never could.

I finally understand what the quote meant “pain demands to be felt”. It puts healing on a whole new level for me. It allows me to open myself up to not the feeling of the pain, but what is behind the pain and no longer being afraid of it.

Pain doesn’t have to be a debilitating thing that cripples us into a hole of loneliness, pain can be a strength that heals us. A foothold to rising above it. We can use the pain as a step to move above it.

When I gave birth to my middle child, I could never understand why the DR would tell me to push when the pain of contraction started, and he said, that pain helps the body to push the baby out and forward.. if you work with the pain of the contraction, you are helping the process along. I think emotional pain is much like the same. If we allow ourselves to FEEL the pain, maybe that is where we begin to understand the process of healing what it is that pains us.

I am not saying this is an easy process, and to be honest it scares me, but I have spent 40+ years chasing my pain away and hiding from the way these memories and triggers hurt me.. maybe its time to face it and say “OK what do you want me to know, what can I learn from you so that this will not debilitate me and my life any longer.

I never thought that a quote could hit me so hard like this did, and as I sit here this evening writing about it, it makes so much sense on why it did.


  • Gel

    June 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Hi Karen,
    So much wisdom and courage here. I appreciate you take the time to write what is your healing journey.

    This part really resonates with me:
    “I am one to always shut off the emotions as quick as I can and to say “we need to fox this, I need to feel better”.. maybe all that needs to be done is to feel the pain I feel, talk about the pain I feel”

    It’s that last part….maybe all that needs to be done is to feel the pain and talk about it…..That is the essence of what Re-evaluation Co-Counseling (RC) is about ….it’s creating the space where we feel supported to just let the feelings emerge knowing that that is the healing itself.

    You had asked about what RC is. My husband and I are now practicing RC together and it’s a wonderful way to go deeper together.

    Since I don’t resonate with the idea of DEMANDS, I would just translate the quote “pain demands…..” How about this:

    Pain INVITES us into a healing process that requires being willing to FEEL stuff.

    Love to you.

    1. KarenBeth

      June 18, 2014 at 7:02 AM

      Gel.. I thought about you when I wrote this … I wanted this to resonate with you because I Understand how confusing it can be to feel how you feel, to feel how we feel and to understand the healing process around that …

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 meant a lot to me. I love that you do co-counseling and I love hearing more about it.. I hope you write more about your experiences in healing.

      love you dearly


  • Amy

    June 17, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    What a beautiful post! “Pain demands to be felt”…wow, I love this quote! It speaks to me a lot as a survivor of an abusive marriage which I thankfully have been free of for over 5 years now.
    When my ex left me after 20 years of marriage the first thing that happened to me was to finally FEEL again. I felt every.single.emotion to it’s fullest and the emotional and mental pain was perhaps the hardest to deal with.
    And with God’s help I allowed myself to feel it all. I allowed myself to cry, to be angry, and whatever other emotion came out. And it was overwhelming at first, because for 20 years of my life I was denied having feelings and I suddenly WANTED to feel again!
    And yes, any type of pain demands to be felt.

    1. KarenBeth

      June 18, 2014 at 7:04 AM

      Hi Amy .. YES you were going through the stages of GRIEF of losing someone and that is the right way to heal! Alot of people push away those emotions, but its so important to feel the pain so we can move past it!

      Thank you SO MUCH for sharing a big of your story and connecting with me 🙂 I am blessed to have such a great connection.

      I am so glad that you are moving into a freedom part of your life, that is GREAT to hear 🙂

      I Hope to see you here more on my blog.. I would love to connect with you more.

  • Amanda Ripsam

    June 4, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    I can relate I too suffer pain from my stomach disorder called gasteroparies, hitial hernia,gerd and all kinds of health issues happening to me that would just be a long list. Yet here I am unable to be operated on because of a birth defect and I just have to accept the new lifestyle and mange the best I can every single day.
    Thanks for sharing the quote.

  • Cathy Z. Peek

    June 6, 2015 at 2:48 AM

    Thanks Karen for sharing this. It is hard to understand why terrible things happen that could destroy us, but knowing God can redeem the ugly and do mighty things through our lives…keeps us pushing forward. Karen you are a light in this dark world. Keep doing what you are doing! You are making a difference in the lives of women. I am linking up from the group Together We Blog. Thanks for all you do!! Many blessings.

    1. Karen Courcy


      June 10, 2015 at 9:26 AM

      Hi Cathy … thank you so much for your kind words …. people like you inspire me to want to write more and connect with more people … this meant a lot to me.

  • Renee

    December 25, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    Wow! Excellent take on this quote. It helps…

  • shortybears

    April 1, 2016 at 1:33 AM

    praying for you dear.

  • Dana Theis

    April 13, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    Karen, Thank you for your wisdom on this quote that has been with me.. I have been so much in the last few years that I lack words for where to start. Literally, it has put so much stress on my brain from the excessive migraines and a bad reaction to a medication to treat them, I now have PAIN that is constant with memory loss. Oh ya, and a back injury a few years ago. In the middle of all of this I had something happen at work that I don’t remember that had caused me to lose a license for a career I loved recently. I now find myself in the midst of PAIN demanding to be felt every day in my head and in my back, taking care of a friend who is disabled while I look for another job that I can tolerate with a severe low back/tailbone PAIN and head PAIN/migraine that is constant with memory loss that I cannot control when I forget things. There is so much truth in Pain wanting to be felt.

    I guess if I could only knit fast enough for it to pay. My new mental slow and PAIN is also a side effect in my hands and feet from meds. Woohoo.

    As, I feel like throwing my head against a wall in pain and praying I can get through another day without forgetting anything too important, I begin to look for another job I might be able to do while having my Paine that demands to be felt.

    Thank you


  • Heshani

    July 9, 2021 at 11:29 PM

    Hey Karen, Im Heshani from Sri Lanka, i would love to read the book ‘“Why bad things happen to good people” by Harold S Kushner’ do you now from where i could download a free copy of it. It would be a great help and thankyou for sharing this masterpiece. lots of love 🙂

  • October 5, 2021 at 12:59 AM

    Miss Karen you are beautifully strong and you have a heart of gold which is always finding the grace within.
    Thankyou for this and for feeling the pain and to not let go off your life.

Please take a moment to comment! I love connecting with others!

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