We’ve all experienced painful experiences throughout our lives. Regardless of the degree of the tragedy that caused us pain, at one point or another, we’ve all experienced some or all of the feelings associated with pain, namely: sadness, anger, helplessness, blame and even shame.
In Western society, we are taught to suppress pain. We are taught to be strong by moving on and staying busy. But these tactics are not actually making us stronger because they are simply distracting us from the pain, which disables us from truly hearing.
Americans often treat pain as something to avoid or suppress. Either personally or with professional guidance, we suppress feelings of pain through many different vehicles: drugs, distractions, impulsive behavior, or the artifice of being “strong.” We want to get rid of our pain as quickly and efficiently as we can. Without even realizing, we are taught to be uncomfortable with suffering.
This creates a direct contrast to other cultures and religions, that embrace suffering as an innate part of life. In some cultures, even death is celebrated.
While we might not want or need to throw a party for our painful experiences, we must learn to use our pain to propel us forward. We must learn how to transform our pain into power. In order to do so, we must understand and accept the source of pain. We must embrace our pain in order to truly become stronger.
How do we do this? There are a multitude of ways. We can seek professional guidance, we can talk to loved ones or we can get involved with support groups. While this might be helpful for some, it is not the only answer for all. We don’t always have to look so far outside of ourselves for answers. The answers to our deep internal questions already reside within.
If you’ve recently undergone a painful experience or you’ve experienced a painful experience in the past, of which you have not yet been able to embrace, sit in silence and ask yourself these questions:
- What or whom has caused you pain?
- Was the experience that caused the pain within your locus of control? Or outside of it?
- How did you react to this painful experience? Why?
- What did you learn from the experience?
- What lesson can you takeaway that you can transform into power?
Embracing our pain is not an overnight experience. It takes time and patience. It takes going deeper inside of yourself. It takes acceptance. These practices are not easy. Meditation and affirmations can help. Talking can help. But so can silence. In silence, we can hear our soul. In silence, we can delve deeper into our subconscious to understand our painful experiences, accept them and ultimately let them go. What will remain are the lessons we have learned, the perspective we have gained. These are the things that will make us stronger. These are the things that will enable us to turn our pain into power.