What's Your Pain?

Updated on March 4, 2018
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Natasha's book, A Place to Call Home, is about one woman's pain which leads her to lie until she can learn how to reconcile with her past.

Struggles are inevitable. They're the make-or-break events that define the path of our lives. And although they're not constant, they often make you feel like they crowd out anything you have to celebrate, and can easily steal your joy. But here's the thing. Success isn't in what goes right, but how you handle your struggles. So, what's your pain?

3 Reasons Why Pain is a Good Thing

You've heard the saying, "no pain, no gain." Simply put, it's acknowledging that without putting in the effort, you won't see a result. The same can be said from every struggle you're up against, and here's why:

  1. It makes you stronger. Humans are wired to fight back. When facing adversity, we respond to protect ourselves in whatever way we are prone to - which causes a chain reaction. Whether it's getting in shape, healing from a broken heart, or learning how to play an instrument, all these things and more involve some level of initial discomfort that pushes us to eventually "win." There's no greater high than when personal demons or problems are conquered!
  2. It makes you humble. When life is good, it's easy to sit back and get complacent. But if you have been through some hard times, you look at things differently. Not only can you identify with someone else's pain, but you no longer take anything for granted, either. With grace and thankfulness, you're able to appreciate where you've been led, and how to help others get there, too.
  3. It's the mother of invention. Do you have a passion or calling? What you do as a hobby or career isn't something that has to remain static. In fact, in theory, it can't. And if you do something long enough - and well - there comes a time when you are led to a new way of thinking or doing, thus a new invention or process is developed. The key is to take what you love or are good at and allow yourself to fail, to be less than your best. Only then will your mind goad you to take further action, because inside of us all is a competitive streak that begs for satisfaction until a breakthrough occurs. Everything we see around us is proof of this, thanks to the hard work of others throughout history. In turn, what we do throughout our lifetime impacts the outcome for those who come after us.

The Avoidance of Pain

You can't fix what won't heal. Some people are afraid to experience pain because they think they can't face it unscathed. In part, they're correct - you can never get through a struggle without it changing you. The true fear is actually of the unknown. comfort is something society markets for the sake of enterprise. We want to walk with cushioned soles, have the best sleep ever, and look at beauty in our surroundings. For some people, comfort comes in the form of sticking to routines - even unhealthy ones - and wonder why they feel stuck. They are robbed of what it takes to grow, because they won't allow themselves to feel the pain it takes to get where they really want to be!

Avoiding pain can trigger memories from the past or reactions they feel powerless to control - be they emotional or physical responses. Such "wounds" bottled up are toxic to living. If instead they are let out to air - that is, the more they're discussed or relived - the less harmless they become over time. It may also mean not going back to what caused the initial pain (such as with a bad decision) in order to make a new one. Sometimes the workaround is just that: not redoing what was wrong, but working around what happened through making new choices with different outcomes. That way, you're no longer blaming yourself or others, and you're not settling for where you are now when you can get further with more effort, so you can seize new opportunities as they arise.

Giving Back to Get Ahead

Who says distraction has to be problematic? When you make the most out of your daily life with the strength, humility, and the drive to solve problems, your eyes will be opened in ways you won't always anticipate - and your response to them can serve to lessen the harshness of whatever struggles that you may have. Looking to the needs of others is a worthy distraction, as part of a cycle that connects us with others, keeps us from relying solely on ourselves to thrive, and allows us to turn our struggles into situations that work for our good, and not ruination.

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