My best friend who helps people that struggle with addictions tells me often “pain is a great motivator.” He goes onto explain how often these poor souls must suffer and reach a point of desperation before they are ready to surrender and ask for help. At which time, they are given plenty of help and often recover.
Other addicts know that to step in and help before someone is ready is a big mistake. You don’t want to rob that person of reaching their bottom so they can finally get help. As backward as that seems it does make sense.
Easy to Say, Harder to Do
It’s no different than being a parent. We all want to rush in and fix things and save our babies from whatever they are going through. However, sometimes the best thing we can do for them is to let them fall flat on their faces because that is how they learn. It’s how we learned. In theory, this is perfect parenting, in practice much harder. I often struggle with how much to help and when to back off.
Looking back at my life, I see instances where pain has been the number one thing that motivated me towards change and something better. Although I don’t like watching anyone suffer, I know in the end, if they use that pain, they will come out the other side better for it.
Look for the Opportunity Instead of Suffering
I have just recovered from the worst flu I have ever experienced. With it came a tremendous amount of pain; from body aches to headaches and everything in between. It was shocking how much physical discomfort I could endure and not just collapse. Within the monologue going on inside my head during all this suffering, I found a way to turn it into something positive.
I kept searching for the opportunity to turn it over. I found creative ways to convince myself that this pain was my body’s way of building up a defense, so I don’t get sick again. I also created a belief that this pain was solving some other physical problem that I didn’t even know existed and once the pain was gone, I would feel better than ever!
It’s not always easy when you are suffering to climb out long enough to look for anything positive. I did find that making mental gratitude lists often helped ease the hours while waiting for it to end.
Pain Can Be Useful
Pain is inevitable, and as much as we run from it, we will never escape. Another lesson I learned this past weekend was pure, complete, ultimate acceptance. I could not speed up my recovery. Nor could I fix it or make it go away. There was nothing for me to do but have faith in my body’s ability to heal me, along with gratitude, and meditation to ease my suffering. I am actually grateful for this forced lesson. It makes me appreciate feeling healthy even more. For me, pain often means I need to make a change or slow down.
Whenever you feel pain, instead of running from it, look within for an opportunity to help it change you. Maybe it is there for a reason; one you need to take a closer look at and learn from. What is your pain telling you?