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Now Entering the Hurt Cave

Put your hard hats on

In CrossFit workouts and other high intensity athletic training situations, trainers and athletes joke about entering the 'pain cave,' that place where it it just hurts too much to go on, where you want to set down the damn kettlebell/barbell/dumbbell, drop off the bar, walk off the field, never come back to the gym/track/weightroom.

Similarly, there's a hurt cave. This is the cave you enter when you feel rejected—personally, professionally, publicly, privately. This hurt cave is a relative of the pain cave: you just want to give up on the thing that rejected you. You want to never again pitch another idea, ask for something you want, open up to someone. You thought you wanted to be vulnerable and take risks, but when you're in the hurt cave, all you feel is rejection and it HURTS. It hurts too much to ever imagine feeling it again.

In the pain cave, you fight: maybe you do set down the kettlebell, but you pick it back up again. You keep moving, keep counting reps. You reached the lowest low of the workout, and now you'll claw your way out of the pain cave and into the light. You're done working out. You're tired, proud, and best of all stronger—physically and mentally. Even knowing the pain cave is coming, you go to the gym the next day. The accomplishment of growth is worth the pain cave.

Likewise, knowing you will have to enter the hurt cave time and time again doesn't mean you will give up on vulnerability.  The accomplishment of being vulnerable—of wanting something, of trusting someone, of believing in yourself or the idea or the person—is worth the pain cave. Even knowing the hurt cave is coming, you put yourself out there the next day. The growth, the chance, and the eventual success are worth the hurt cave.

Because the pain cave is just a pit stop on the road to health, fitness, and confidence.

And the hurt cave is just a pit stop on the road to health, happiness, and confidence.


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