“Human life must be some kind of mistake. The truth of this will be sufficiently obvious if we only remember that man is a compound of needs and necessities hard to satisfy; and that even when they are satisfied, all he obtains is a state of painlessness, where nothing remains to him but abandonment to boredom.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
For many people, pain and heartbreak are things that are best left ignored.
But for philosophers, firefighters, doctors, rescue teams, charity organizations, and other professionals at the forefront of saving people from distress, it is all that they experience, contemplate, and meditate on. It is something that is undeniably common and something that needs to be overcome or at least greatly reduced.
Human suffering has been in existence as long as the emergence of humans on the surface of the planet. It might seem bleak, but it is true.
There is no hiding from the pain and suffering that comes with life, so, rather than trying to delude, or hide from it (which is ultimately futile), it is better to face them head-on and even grow from them.
In this piece, we’d be looking into the step-by-step process you can employ in overcoming your darkest days, and even turning your pain and suffering into passion and wisdom to better your life and that of those around you.
I must admit that this is not easy by any stretch of our imagination, nonetheless, it is doable and the steps are quite straightforward. Turning your pain into power involves:
The first step in turning pain into strength, passion, and wisdom is acceptance of the pain.
You must be willing to acknowledge that you are hurting. At first, it may be confusing – sometimes it may be difficult to understand exactly why you feel so hurt – other times it doesn’t even make any sense.
For instance, breaking up with a toxic partner can hurt as much as ending it with a nice, but incompatible partner. The pain doesn’t have to make any sense. It may even be a bit embarrassing. But you must accept that it is there for there to be any serious shift or transformation.
The second step involves expressing that pain.
Multiple pieces of research have proven that voicing how we feel helps us heal (especially when we have a supportive social network).
This can involve:
Like Steve Aitchison once said,
“Emotional pain is not something that should be hidden away and never spoken about. There is truth in your pain, there is growth in your pain, but only if it’s first brought out into the open.”
You must realize that there is no time frame for feeling pain, and you are permitted to take as long as you want to fully feel and express your emotions.
Understanding your pain is a crucial step in bootstrapping yourself from the downward spiral.
An age-long approach is to journal. Journaling helps us better process our thoughts and emotions – to see where they are coming from and what they are suggesting.
Like Jordan Peterson said,
“You can do an awful lot by writing down what happened to you and thinking it through”.
If you don’t feel comfortable getting a physical journal, there are a lot of journaling apps like Diaro or Reflectionapp out there you can download for free. And most devices come with a notes app that you can start using out of the box. Writing is very powerful and therapeutic.
This involves seeking release through healthy means.
This may require you to do something to ensure you or someone else never suffers from the pain you passed through. It may involve channeling the hurt into more zeal, care, love, and empathy. It may involve sharing your story in order to inspire others to keep going when they are at their lowest.
Transmutation happens when you have fully accepted your pain, expressed it, understood it, and have extracted valuable lessons from it.
It involves letting your emotions wash over you as you appreciate the shortness of life, the value of friendship, the benefits of selflessness, the danger of anger, or some other lesson the pain teaches.
The main thing is that you overcome that pain by getting something positive out of it, hence becoming grateful rather than resentful about it.
In some cases, it may be near impossible to make sense of the things that have happened to us, and in such situations, it is a great idea to reach out to a professional for help.
The therapist is there to help guide you through your internal world, as they point you in the right direction and aid you in extracting the valuable lessons you may not have been able to capture by yourself.
A therapist ultimately helps you heal and become more resilient (simply by asking the right questions and listening intently).
Pain is not something we can run away from, but something we can learn to handle better.
Like Brene Brown said,
“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light”.
Most times life challenges come to make us stronger, not destroy us, and that is worth keeping in mind.
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