Friday, July 6, 2012

The Gift of Pain

Pain can be endured and defeated only if it is embraced. Denied or feared, it grows. ~ Dean Koontz (from his book Velocity)

When we think of pain, whether it’s physical or emotional, we automatically think of it in a negative fashion. What is the first question someone usually asks when doing something new?   “Does it hurt?” Yes, pain hurts like hell but what if I told you, pain is actually a gift? When I speak of pain in this respect, I mean emotional pain.  Now you’re probably thinking I have lost my mind right now. But as I always say and believe, how you look at something is up to you. We CHOOSE to see things in a positive or negative light. Once you accept the fact that it is your choice on how you look at things, they will seem a lot easier, especially looking at pain as a gift.

When we are hurt, it feels so unbearable. But somehow, we get through it. Now some of us take way longer than others to get over the pain but we all get through it nevertheless.  And when the pain is gone and we are healed, we are different because of that pain. It is then that you choose whether you are going to let that pain hinder you from moving on and becoming a better person or you are going to learn from it and evolve.  With each heartbreak, disappointment, and setback, there is a lesson to be learned and we grow because of that. But there are times when we are so hurt that the pain breeds fear. Fear of going down that same path and wielding the same results.

I spend many years scared of love. I have had a few failed relationships, mostly because of infidelity. I kept getting with these men who cheated on me and treated me like crap. For a long time, I placed all the blame on them and was resentful. I also grew scared of opening my heart to love because I didn’t want to get hurt again. But I realized that I won't find the love I am supposed to have in my life, if I kept being scared of getting hurt. Pain is pain. If I got through it before, I can do so again. I decided to not be scared anymore. And I started to change the way I thought. I also needed to be accountable for my actions in all of this. I chose to be with these men. Now I am not excusing what they did but there was a reason I kept meeting different men wearing the same shoes. That is something I had to fix within myself.

I noticed I used many negative words like “I can’t”, “I won’t”, "IF it happens" and “I don’t”. Words are very powerful. As a few of my good friends remind me all the time, you speak words into existence because when you speak them, you believe them. You give those words power. And those negative words rob you of your faith. So you’re sabotaging yourself even before you tried. You’re giving up before giving it a chance. You will never know what could happen if you don’t a chance. So I stopped used those words when speaking something into existence. Instead, I say "I can!", "I will!" and "It will happen!". I was amazed at how good it made me feel to speak positively and good things started to happen for me. 

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. ~ Maya Angelou

With this newfound positive vocabulary, I started to build my faith again. Now it wasn't great 24/7. I still had setbacks and disappointments come into my life from time to time. But when something didn’t work out, I chose to handle it differently. I just dusted myself off and kept it moving. I looked at the situation as a learning opportunity…a lesson in life. Even though at times, the pain was so bad. However, I kept thinking to myself, I will get through it one day at a time and things will be even better. When one door closes, it is leaving the space available for a better one to open. Slowly but surely, I began to open my heart. I learned that if your heart is closed to love in a romantic sense, it definitely affects you in other relationships with family and friends. I was very closed off and honestly, I was not happy or very trusting of others, in general. And life is too short to not be happy as much as you can.

When we are faced with a disappointment or setback, it is so easy for us to play the victim and have a pity party. I then realized that part of my evolving was also changing my reaction to things. No more pity parties...I can have my moment but then that's it. I started to embrace those bad things as something that was happening FOR me and not TO me. I know it sounds crazy but I started to look at setbacks and bad things happening to me as blessings. Some things are not meant for us but we go for it anyway. Some setbacks happen to force you to change something in your life. Fate, Karma, the Universe or God…whatever Higher Being you believe in, they are instrumental in forcing their hand in your life when they see you are getting too comfortable in a place you are not meant to stay in.

Fear actually holds us back from experiencing all that life has to offer. Sometimes you have to take a chance. Fear of pain is the fear that holds us back the most. But pain is actually there to help you change something that is wrong. My biggest lesson and gift of pain came when my dad passed away last year. As I have written so many times before, my dad was my world. He was one of the greatest men I ever knew. And the pain still runs deep. However, out of his death, came the lesson of living life in the now. He was so focused on the end of his life (retiring), that he did not fully enjoy the journey along the way. His death is what makes me want to be fearless and conquer the world. I want to do it not only for myself but for him. I want to live the life that he didn't and honor his memory. His sudden death reminded me that time waits for no one and tomorrow is not promised to any of us. 

So the next time you find yourself in turmoil over some unbearable pain, remember that it is a gift and there is a lesson to be learned. You will amazed at your own strength and the amount of pain you will endure in life. The key is to not let that pain dictate your destiny or halt you on your journey. You can get through it! It all starts within you.

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