Pain Can Create Gain
There is an old saying that goes, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Every single person has gone through adversity that has pained them greatly. Some are so scarred by their pain that they choose to be victims. They perseverate on how they have been taken advantage of and they report such a great sense of vulnerability that they feel immobilized. This pain keeps them locked up, unable to move past the wounds. Consequently, they don’t grow and they don’t take risks.
These unfortunate souls have never felt that sense of exhilaration or strength after they have mastered the pain. For them it is safer not to try and risk the chance of being disappointed and rejected again.
Does this sound like you or someone you know? Most people who fall into this category know it and pride themselves on their sense of self-protection.
When I work with this type of personality I realize that my work is cut out for me. I am going to be asking this client to make a shift in their thinking. I am going to encourage them to tear the wall down a bit and look at things in a different way.
If you have been seriously hurt in the past, I would ask you to answer these three questions with a great deal of thought and self-reflection:
- What did the event/situation teach you? It’s imperative to look at the pain as a teacher. It can guide and protect you. It should never insulate you from taking risks and chances.
- How did the pain affect you physically, emotionally and spiritually? I know many people who have been mad at God and spent months or often years shutting spirituality out. Our work together involves opening the door again so that the client can use their spirituality for support and guidance. I have met men who say that after a loved one died they never allowed themselves to cry again. I encourage them to open the floodgates so they could feel again. I remind them that they can’t let a person in emotionally if they spend your time shutting their feelings out. It’s important to take note of how the pain has affected you. Why did it hurt you so badly? What ugly or nasty thoughts did you have as a result of the pain.? Don’t’ hide from them. Instead, get honest. Write them down or share them with a supportive person who won’t judge you. Remember, ugly and nasty thoughts are normal reactions to being hurt. You must acknowledge them to move beyond them.
- What positive things did you learn about yourself after you experienced the pain? Once you admit the impact of the pain it’s important to recognize the strength that you have gained. How are you stronger and wiser as a result of that pain? People grow the most when they are suffering. Adversity creates character and character builds self-esteem. It is clearly a coping skill to take a bad experience and extrapolate the good out of it. It will not keep you bound in resentment, anger or fear and it will free you to pursue your needs.
Here’s your assignment. Write down an experience that, on some level, was devastating. Write at least three paragraphs about how it affected you physically, emotionally and spiritually (make sure to include all those ugly thoughts you may have had). Write down thirty ways in which you are stronger, healthier or wiser from this adversity.
As you work on your strengths, you will learn more about yourself, heal faster and be a better person for it.