This title may be a little misleading. I do not actually love pain. Especially in the moment. I am not sure anyone does. What I do feel is respect for pain. I know in pain and darkness is where some of the greatest growth happens. I was reminded of this late last week. It is fairly obvious when it comes to physical fitness. The pain you feel in your muscles is what proceeds the growth of new muscle. The pain of deprivation and self-sacrifice when you are improving your diet will lead to the growth of a healthier you. These are all pretty obvious situations. Sometimes pain is sneaky and the growth is not so easy to understand until you can look back.
Last week I had one of those sneaky moments. I am still not 100% sure why, but I am guessing a host of personal situations that occurred had me feeling down. It can be quite frustrating when you feel down and you just can’t put your finger on exactly why. I decided to get some writing done. I went to the local coffee shop and started to write some blogs. They felt a little dark, but they were very introspective. After I was done writing, it occurred to me that often this can be the result of me feeling in a funk. I get in my own head and really start thinking about my life and how I am living it. Then, I come up with some pretty interesting conclusions. Ones that would probably not have come to me if I was running around with a smile on my face and in my heart.
Many people assume that being happy 100% of the time should be a goal. I disagree. I think a little pain is good for us all. What we should try to do is limit the duration and frequency of that pain. On the other end of the spectrum, we should try to maximize the profitability of our pain. What I mean by that is we should try to get the most out of a painful situation. It can be tempting to wallow in self-pity or sadness. I know just as well as anyone how good that can feel. Here is a little secret, it doesn’t get you very far. Certainly, give those feelings their due, but then put them to work for you. Suffering the pain of regret after losing someone? Let it be the kick in the butt to be more loving to those you still have. Sad because the person you thought you would be with forever had a far shorter definition of the word than you did? Learn from that. Were there red flags you overlooked? Is there something you can improve about yourself?
Pain can suck. There is no way around that. What makes it ten times worse, is if you don’t get anything out of it. Imagine going to the gym once, feeling sore, waiting weeks until you feel better and then repeating it. Not only would you feel sore again, you would not be any closer to being in shape. The pain of losing a job for being late and then showing up 30 minutes after the start time for your new job. None of this would make sense. Put pain to work for you. Don’t let it run you!