Pain can be a prelude to a powerful story. In my case, I stepped back from the ledge and into a life I never dreamed possible. What has pain done for you? Has it been a barrier or a bridge to happiness? Either way, pain will change your life.
Pain can change your life for good by making three important decisions.
Listen to It
Currently, I am doing physical therapy on my right shoulder. How did I get here? It happened while engaged in sports activities. For several weeks I ignored the pain, thinking it would go away. Guess what? It became worse. Finally, I went to the doctor and discovered I have a frozen shoulder. Now I am sidelined for several weeks.
Ignoring pain does not make it go away. I’m not only talking about physical pain. Emotional pain does not go away either. We can try to ignore it or suppress it, but it will manifest in one way or another.
Listening to your pain will require you to listen. That means you listening to your heart. What does it say? Your heart will tell what kind of pain it feels. Heart pain can be sadness, loneliness, hurt, rejection, abandonment, emptiness, anger, bitterness, hopelessness, or despair. Once you know your pain, you are ready to make the next decision.
Deal With It
My pain did not go away. As I indicated, it worsened. Finally, I dealt with it by going to a doctor and later to a physical therapist. Now my arm is feeling much better and I am ahead of schedule to resume sports activities.
In the video where I described my experience with emotional pain at Starved Rock State Park, my plan to deal with it was short-sided. Fortunately, I listened to an inner voice that offered another solution.
Some people deal with emotional pain using solutions that provide temporary relief but added problems. Self-medicating emotional pain is not a good solution. Nor is escaping. The best way to respond to pain is to deal with it in a healthy manner.
In my case, I reached out for help. The inner voice who spoke to me on the ledge I believe was God. So, one of the ways I dealt with my emotional pain was to rediscover my faith. This was a huge step. Later, I reached out to people who I could trust and talked with them about the things I was dealing with at the time.
Dealing with your emotional pain is an important decision. Do you know where to turn? It may be your faith, family, or friends. Perhaps you may find help talking with a professional. The important thing is that you make a decision to deal with it. Once you do, you are ready for the third decision.
Pain can help or harm. It depends on how you use it. When you deal with pain, it can be used to better your life and help others. If you don’t deal with pain, it will harm you and possibly others if you’re not careful.
Like the individual in the photo above, I felt alone in a dark place. I wasn’t looking at the light at the end of the tunnel. After listening to my pain and dealing with it, I was able to use it for good. For the past 30+ years I have dedicated my life to helping others overcome problems and pain to find meaning and purpose.
If you have experienced pain you don’t have to be defined by it. You can use it for good. I see this happen all the time. The stories that inspire us most are about people who have gone through difficult times or hurtful experiences and have not fallen victim to them. Instead, they deal with their pain and use it for some greater good.
Perhaps your pain is a prelude to a powerful story. A story of overcoming hardship and bringing good to the world–however big or small your world is. It happens when you listen, deal, and use. Where are you in your story?
Now it’s your turn
Where are you in your story? Are you currently in pain? If so, are you listening to it, dealing with it, or using it? If you are using your pain for good, I have a favor to ask of you. Could you offer a word of encouragement to others who are trying to listen or deal with it? Write a few lines in the comment section below. Thank you.