An inescapable part of life.
Long nights of sleeplessness,
Intense periods of anxiety,
Unbearable bouts of suffering.
We’ve all been through pain. For those of us that have been through a breakup, we know the maturity and clarity of vision that comes once we’re over the initial stages of dealing with grief. Beginning with denial, going on through bargaining and depression, once we get to accepting what’s happened, it’s like a blindfold’s been taken off. We see the things that were staring us right in the face.
Everything happens for a purpose. Getting fired from your job doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Instead, it means that you now have the time and chance to evaluate your countless other options, to follow that one thing you’ve always dreamed of. The loss of a loved one can teach you that at the end, it isn’t about the number of zeros on your paycheck or that fancy car you’ve just bought. Life is about making the most of the little things, the memories made with the people that matter.
But we’ve discussed how suffering can bring clarity quite a bit. So, now, let’s talk about why the experience of pain is good in itself.
Imagine a world where everyone was happy all the time. A place where no one got hurt or died. Where men were immortal and life easy: Do you think you’d have been happier? Let’s lead into it – Do you know how you take the people who have always been around for granted as opposed to the new interesting people you’ve met? It would be the same with life without suffering. If we have the audacity to be ungrateful for what we have in our lives with pain, then imagine how arrogant we’d be if there was no pain to soften us.
Like a lotus in the mud, compassion blooms directly out of pain. We cry at movies and hug a friend through a hard time – that’s an experience we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t endured the feeling ourselves. Sure, the good memories are always better, but you’ll always remember that one person who hugged you with all their might when you just couldn’t get yourself to stop sobbing. There’s a tenderness about pain that can expand our ability to love, to be vulnerable and to open up.
Together with your best friends, you’ve been through quite a lot – helped each other through breakups, the yelling at home, even going to the principal’s room together. Going through a rough patch has an inexplicable bonding effect. Coming out together at the top means you connect at a different level. Pain is what makes us who we are. What retains our humanity. Without it, we’d be arrogant, proud, self-righteous creatures with no thought or empathy for the world around us.
I think as intelligent beings, we need to re-evaluate the manner in which we deal with pain. Instead of fighting it, we can decide to let it be and connect with someone, open ourselves up or just strengthen our will – we can resolve to keep that feeling in mind when we’re being ignorant to a friend’s pain.
So, wonderful readers, if you’re going through a rough patch right now, fear not. It will bring you clarity and love. You just have to see it.
If you think this phase isn’t going to end, you’re wrong. Be patient and stay strong. It will.
Like the Buddhists say – Everything is temporary [or if you prefer the Christian ‘This too shall pass’]. Or as Nietzsche said: What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.