Why we need to embrace pain and not avoid it.
I know embracing pain seems absurd because we all try so hard to avoid pain at all costs, don’t we?
Painful feelings and emotions.
Humans have thought of ingenious ways to avoid these unwelcome intruders into our lives.
In this article, I will explore why we should not avoid pain at all costs but to learn from pain, and even profit from it!
Sounds odd, I know, but let’s dig a little deeper.
We all want peace of mind, right? That joyous feeling that all is well with us and the world.
I am no different from you!
In fact, my peace of mind is one of my most treasured gifts.
This means I feel contented and do not want for anything.
I am fulfilled and can enjoy the present moment without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
The problem comes with the subconscious thoughts that we attach meaning to and often we automatically assume this meaning is true!
Notice above that I said peace of mind and contentment is a feeling.
Anxiety, resentment, and bitterness are also feelings and are often painful to us.
So how we feel matters most to us.
But where do feelings come from? What creates a feeling?
Well, feelings come from thoughts and our interpretation and perception of them.
We can summarise how we operate throughout our lives as follows;
Thoughts >Feelings >Action >Habits > Our personality > Our reality.
This is the unconscious ‘system’ our brains and bodies run on every day.
As you can see, the entire process starts with thoughts!
So if we could control our thoughts, could we control everything else that follows?
I soon realised that I could not control my thoughts.
I could not think of my way to feel better.
The lightbulb moment came when I realised I could control the interpretation of my thoughts and that even when they were painful that I could learn from them and that pleasure was often on the other side of pain.
I examined my thoughts to see if they were the truth or just an illusion.
Should I just automatically accept them?
Here is a good example from my experience.
As a child, I suffered from an abusive relationship with my father. (you can read about my life here if you wish)
When I thought of my past and my dad, dark and painful memories and thoughts would occur.
For a long time, these troubled me greatly, and the thoughts produced feelings of intense fear and anxiety.
Then I realised that this painful past could actually be of significant benefit to me and others. I became determined not to repeat the actions of my father in my relationship with my son.
I changed my interpretation of these thoughts from pain to pleasure.
I would become a loving and supporting father, patient and benevolent, and my son would be the beneficiary.
And guess what?
One of the greatest joys of my life is the beautiful relationship I have with my son.
My pain eventually became pleasure. We cannot know one without experiencing the other.
Knowing this and seeing the good and bad in everything gives balance to our lives.
Dark clouds eventually give way to brilliant sunshine.
Our thoughts come without us asking for them or desiring them!
Don’t believe me?
OK, try this!
Close your eyes, set a timer for five minutes and try not to think of a sudden thought – nothing – no thoughts for five minutes.
It’s impossible, right?
In fact, studies show that our subconscious mind produces around 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day!
Most of these we do not notice, for example, brushing our teeth or making a cup of coffee.
They become automatic, and these form our habits.
We need to dig a little deeper to see the positives that co exist with negatives.
Things can become their opposites.
Freedom fighters can become tyrants – love can become hate – good can become bad.
My message is to use your pain, learn from it, interpret it positively. Short-term pain can become long-term gain.