Pain. In its many forms it lurks beyond every decision, every confrontation and every action. Everything we do in life is directed towards the avoidance of pain, and the obtaining of pleasure. Sometimes the thought of pain is enough to put us off something entirely; the pain of social discomfort when meeting new people, the pain of muscle soreness after heading to the gym, and so we put these things off, indefinitely.
Why do we have pain? It seems so unfair, that we should have to suffer when we want to meet new people, improve our bodies, or go through childbirth and create an entirely new human being. But is pain really unfair, a thing to be avoided at all costs, or can it actually be a good thing?
Can pain teach us to be better people, to practice self-care and respect, and to be grateful for those who love us enough to help us through our pain? I think so. In my own personal experiences, I have found the biggest leaps in self-growth come from periods of intense pain. When my grandfather passed away recently, it was a sad time for everyone. I found that through this grieving process I found a deeper connection with father than I feel I had ever made- something that may not have occurred if we didn’t both have to go through an intensely painful time. And so for that pain, I was grateful.
The same goes for physical pain too. As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I am always looking at the intrinsic connections between the mind, body and emotions. I often sense in clients with physical pain the need for them to go through a journey with that pain, to learn and understand something they may have otherwise previously ignored. The body is wise, and will always force you to listen up when you stick your head in the sand.
A great example I see time and again is lower back pain and emotional burden. So often people overload themselves with the weight of their world; family responsibility, job commitments, personal expectations, that their ‘backs break’. Understanding this connection, and lightening their load, always seems to aid their recovery, and improves their self-care. Those with chronic neck tightness are often too much in their head, and disconnected from their body and primal self. By learning to relax, meditate and let go of conscious control, neck pain can miraculously resolve in many.
If you are experiencing pain, whether it be physical or emotional, could it be your next big lesson? I urge you to be curious, explore the message behind your pain. Can you take this one step further, and actually be grateful for your lesson? This may have just been the thing you needed to feel happier, more centered and in control of your life. Pain is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t gain something from it.