• Holly McClain

The "Aha" Moment

I coach tween and teen girls. And it takes A LOT to impress and awe them. But recently my 12 year old experienced one of Oprah’s classic “Aha” moments! And what I’m about to share with you just might create one in you too.

Her “Aha” came after I shared with her the 2 types of pain we suffer from - clean pain and dirty pain. Martha Beck introduced this concept during my Life Coach training years ago: Clean pain is what we feel when something hurtful happens to us. Dirty pain is what we think and feel about ourselves in response to the painful situation.

Clean Pain - someone said something hurtful to you. You feel the sting and heartache of those words from that person.

Dirty Pain - you “beat yourself up” about how you handled the nasty comment someone made to you. Maybe you feel ashamed that you didn’t stick up for yourself, disappointed by what you said in response or crushed that you may actually deserve that treatment after all.

Nine times out of ten the self generated dirty pain creates more suffering than the clean pain. Often it can last and linger long after the clean pain has left us. Learning that we inflict more suffering upon ourselves than we ever realized is huge.

As we sit with our girls who are upset and in pain, let’s not forget to take a closer look and identify where that suffering is coming from - clean pain or dirty pain. Upon realizing that there are two types of pain and what that means, my 12 year old had her “Aha” moment. She was now able to understand her feelings, honor herself and regain her inner balance.


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