The Gift of Pain

“Pain is a priceless essential gift – of that I have no doubt. And yet only by learning to master pain can we keep it from mastering us.”  Dr. Paul Brand162762974002424312_5JOY05mC_c

There’s a different world than the one we live in now, and sometimes I feel its breath rush against my skin. But sometimes, I bump against darkness. Ironically pain reminds me I’m alive and how much I love.

Few experiences in life are more universal than pain. Some pains, the pain of grief or emotional trauma, have no physical stimulus whatsoever. They are states of the mind, concocted by the alchemy of the brain. These feats of consciousness make it possible for suffering to loiter in the mind long after the body’s need for it has passed.

We hold onto it until it becomes comfortable.

Some emotional pain will leave us with time. Some will leave if we decide to let it go. There are times, though, when we must live with emotional pain; either because we haven’t had sufficient time to heal or because we are not able, willing, and/or ready to let go.

Yet they also give us the potential to attain an outlook that will change the very landscape of the pain experience. We can learn to cope, and even triumph. It’s our choice.

“If I were to choose between pain and nothing, I would choose pain.” — William Faulkner

I know what it’s like to feel nothing. Its depths are far deeper than any pain.

There is fresh emotional pain, and there is the variety that lingers in varying degrees, sometimes in the form of emotional scarring but sometimes simply in the form of persistent inability to feel truly unhappy.

I rarely feel grateful for the fact of pain, but I almost always feel grateful for the message that it brings. I can count on pain to represent my best interests in the most urgent way available. It is then up to me to act on those recommendations.

Broken places heal back stronger and rarely ever break in that place again. No one would choose to go through pain, but no one would deny that’s when you have the opportunity to learn the most.

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8 thoughts on “The Gift of Pain

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