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Suffering has many doors to walk through, and emotional torture can be excruciating even if you are staying at fashionable summer resorts or the New York Plaza hotel. That, I have learned. I am not sure what the reason for my intolerance for injustice is, but watching someone stonewalling their victims and continuing to create so much deliberate harm is a heart-wrenching experience.

How can someone create so much harm and hurt so many people at once and get away with it? What is the price of all justice-seeking? One million, three million, five hundred million tears? How many cheques can one write until the culprit gets to face justice?

Even if you are the richest man in the world, our time is limited, and how we decide to spend it is the biggest question of all. Knowing that someone has walked all over you, that he has deceived you, lied to you, ruthlessly betrayed you, and then gotten promoted with a “man of the year” poster for a happy life, burns like a gigantic bruise that makes you question everything you thought you knew about life. Except for God. He was never up for questioning. The more brutal the aftermath, the stronger the faith in God becomes.

Sometimes, words are all we have left. Whether the word was from the beginning, or was just a reflective interchange with a blank page of the laptop screen, pain is real and our ability to express it is probably one of the sure indicators that we are still human.

When I interviewed the President of the World Bank, he told me not to be naive about evil in this world. While I was intellectually familiar with the concept of evil, it was not until the message of hope dissipated into the barbaric patterns of my own burnt skin that I gained my ability to see.

The only antidote for my year of hell was my own faith. Reading through spiritual text, discovering de nuevo of what many have lived before me. It’s an indefinite journey: humanity pushing through an ongoing battle with darkness.

I remember when the priest of the Walker-Bush family and I sat at the dinner table, he told me that the Devil never comes dressed in a red suit with horns, he comes in much more inconspicuous forms. He was right. But at that time, I  did not have an ability to discern those who sneak into your life with the disguised intent of inflicting harm through a voice of love.

Some people make promises they have no intention of keeping. Hypocrites, whose consciences have been burned by a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:2) These people, they are real, but I hazily remember and can’t fathom how I could have missed the first signs of deception. It engulfed me and empowered me to follow blindly through the corridor that always had new doors to unlock, each pointing to a false exit.

Just like in Alice in Wonderland, I was falling deeper and deeper into honeyed illusion of a sweet mist. I knew where I was, but I could not find the exit. So I looked away at a rhinestone mine.

As Adrienne Gagne said, letting go of your suffering it does not mean you have to forget. The problem with our culture is that we are not empowered to express our own pain. Happiness, yes. But not the suffering as there is always a prescribed set of rules as to what kind of grieving is socially acceptable. And for how long. Even during our own tragedies in life, we are asked to keep up the strong front and think how we come across in public as if suffering is something we should be ashamed of. Anything that deviates from the norm of social suppression of a human emotion can be easily called overly emotional, unstable, insecure, infuriated. Well, I don’t think so. There is no birth of consciousness without pain, warned Carl Gustav Jung.

I have often been told: you are above this. Well, I am not above anything. And who is to say that by expressing how we feel and telling our stories we are not taking the high road anyway? Whose rules are those and how many centuries ago were they established for us to follow them on autopilot with no questions asked?

Through some inconceivable jurisdiction we are asked to bury our own personal tragedies under the barren rock of what was supposed to be our testament to humanity and drive off toward the bruised sunset. No, thank you.

This pointless phenomenon gets denied by the times of full transparency of the new millennium. There is no such a thing as privacy and nothing can stay truly hidden. Why then hide the fractured pieces of our lives?

This has been a year of hell, one where the twilight has coagulated into dark and back. Yet. It has also been a year of my own personal revolution and one of the most professionally rewarding times of my life. As we are entering into the last two months of 2016, we have a choice to decide whether the footprint we are making is the one of harm or of kindness and love.

Sometimes, people will try to hurt us, lie to us, deceive us, deprive us, betray us. Knowing evil in one form or another can only strengthen our faith in good. A happy life is a life in which you can count your blessings. It goes without saying that a person who lives the life of deception has none. Many soul salesmen are experts at half-truths, but yours, should not be for sale.

The worst is over. As a result, I have become much more guarded as to who do I let enter into my life. Not everyone means well, and not everyone is a hero.

Read also: What I know about betrayal

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department at...

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