4.5 Grams of Pain: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson


4.5 Grams of Pain: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson

2nd December 2015

Last Year, I wrote my first book, Messages from the Morning Man. This Christmas, many of you are buying it as a gift for a friend or a loved one. For those who are yet to get your copy, here’s one of the inspirational stories from the book. It’s my father’s favourite, and it’s called 4.5 Grams of Pain.


Yesterday, we talked about cheats. I got lots of messages from some of you, telling me about your experiences with cheats and unscrupulous people.

One elderly man wrote to me from Virginia, telling me about how his own brother who was supposed to be supervising the construction of his retirement home in Kasoa, had spent every penny he had sent down to Ghana, for three good years, from 2007 to 2010, without buying even one cement block. Instead, this dubious brother kept sending the elderly man pictures of someone else’s project to make him think his house was being built. This had traumatised the elderly man so much that he had not spoken to his brother for four years.

I also received a message from a woman whose own son had organised a gang of armed robbers to raid her home. She was alone in the house when they came, took everything she owned, and beat her mercilessly while her son stood outside with his back turned. Since then, she has not been able to stay in that house on her own.

A number of you also shared with me how your partners, wives and husbands had cheated on you, making you feel like you can never trust another person again.

The one thing that was obvious to me from all your messages was that when someone hurts us, the pain can remain for a very long time, and it can be very difficult to get past it and move on – which is very sad, because whatever hurt us, occurred in a moment – in an instant – but by failing to get past it, we are simply re-living the nightmare day after day, allowing it to lock us up indefinitely in the prison of our own minds.

Today, I want to help you to break free from the pain and move on once and for all. This will be a little interactive, so wherever you are – unless you’re driving, I want you to do this with me.

First, find a sheet of paper. Any odd A4 sheet will do. Now, I want you to write the name of the person who hurt you on the sheet of paper. Just their name, nothing more. Done? Good. Now, hold the sheet of paper at arm’s length. Stretch your hand out as far out as it will go. If you’re not alone, and you’re worried that it makes you look a bit silly, it’s alright. This won’t take long, and I promise it will make you feel better.

Now, the average A4 sheet weighs 4.5 grams. Pretty light, isn’t it? I bet it feels like you’re not holding anything in your hand. But, what would happen if you held that paper out in that position for one minute? Your arm would ache a little, wouldn’t it? How about five minutes? How about an hour? I bet that would be unbearable. It would feel like your arm was about to fall off. The same 4.5 gram A4 sheet o! The weight doesn’t change, but the longer you hold it out, the more your arm hurts.

How about holding it out for a whole day? How about a week? A month? A year? How long have you been holding on to that pain caused by the person who hurt you? How long have you relived the horrifying moment when your trust was betrayed, when your peace was violated, when your heart was broken? How long have you used that terrible incident as the reason why your life is the way it is today? Yes, I know it hurts, but it only hurts because you are holding on to it.

So what are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to get past the pain? Ok, put the paper down and I’ll tell you.

That’s it. You just did it. You just did the one simple thing necessary to get past the pain. Just let it go. All this time you have been turning this thing round in your head, trying to analyse it. Asking yourself all manner of questions; Why did he do that to me? What did I ever do to deserve this? She’s my own mother, why doesn’t she love me? It is time to embrace the fact that the answers to these questions do not matter, but the future does. Let go and move on.

Let go because there’s no reason to remain in pain. Let go because those who hurt you are not worth your tears. But most importantly, let go because life is short, and you definitely don’t want even one more minute of what’s left of yours to be occupied by thoughts of someone who doesn’t care about you. Let go and move on.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and there is no room in my future for those who ruined my past.