I had never really understood the meaning behind recurring problems and pain in my life over the past five years. There were times when everything felt so easy, almost stress-free. Then, out-of-the-blue came unpleasant situations that would punch me in the face.
I started thinking that I was being punished: Work deals failed. My relationship was full of conflicts, and my finances were in trouble. I could feel tension all over my body. While trying to digest these situations, I can say it was the most challenging time of my life. Until one day, I realized that there was a pattern to my experiences. I eventually understood that there’s never a single problem that goes away without leaving a valuable experience we truly need. Each pain in our life teaches us a precious lesson exactly at the right time. Here’s why I learned to never let the pain be in vain:
Pain Enables Us to Identify the Root of Our Deepest Fears
Typically, we learn first in school and then we are tested. However, in the school of life, we are tested first and then get the lesson.
After being tested by many relationship issues, I believed that there was something I needed to learn from it. One of these lessons came when I was deeply hurt when the people closet to me forgot my birthday. Even though they didn’t mean it, I got irritated and pissed off at them. I literally had sweat the small stuff.
Once I searched inside myself, my irritation was not solely because they forgot my birthday. This was not the only factor but probably a trigger. What was revealed to me was that it was my deepest fear of losing people I love that made me terribly sad. I associated my forgotten birthday with abandonment. That incident had touched the greatest fear in me. From this experience, I learned that my pain actually assisted me in discovering the root of my deepest fear.
If you find that you easily get mad at small things, ask yourself: “What am I really afraid of?”; “What is my deepest fear behind this?” Your first thought is most likely to be the answer.
Pain Teaches Us to Let Go of What We Can’t Control
Besides guiding me to identify my deepest fears, pain also taught me to focus more on what I can control in the present moment rather than regret what I couldn’t control in the past.
Previously, when I was hurt, the incident triggered my deepest fear because of the lack of control I had. Yep, I will never be able to control people to remember my birthday. Neither can I control losing people I love. When I feel pain, it’s because I have been trying to control everything as my ego wants me to do which brings a sense of security and comfort. And when something happens that’s not part of my plan, I’m going to be upset as the result of my inability to control it.
I came to realize that pain helps me to more easily let go of things I can’t control. The only thing under my full control are my thoughts. Once I’m able to direct my thoughts and move my ego out of the way, higher energy follows and a deeper understanding.
Pain is Not a Punishment but a Lesson
I used to think that my pain came because of my bad karma. Well, I thought karma was only a matter of bad and good things. When goodness appears, it’s because I have done something nice. And when things go wrong, it’s because I did something bad.
Until I had a painful experience – my best friend betrayed me whom I trusted with my secrets. She stabbed me in my back by revealing my secrets and gossiping about them to other people. I didn’t think I had any bad karma about this, but then why did it happen to me? I had no idea but maybe I was being punished for something I was unaware that I did.
It takes quite a long time to reflect on it, to see the connection with one another. Until I got my “aha moment” that karma isn’t a punishment but a matter of balance. A few months later, another friend came to me saying that my ex-best friend who betrayed me was talking about me behind my back. Oh, wow suddenly I remember what Einstein said, “Coincidence is God’s way to be unknown.” That’s exactly what I needed to know to confirm why she shouldn’t be my best friend any longer. That’s God’s way to help me and show me the truth.
I now understand that karma is not only about good and bad. In fact, it’s about life balance. Meaning, my pain wasn’t solely a punishment, but a valuable lesson that directs me to the balance of life. It opens me up to all the miracles that life has to offer.
Pain Brings us Closer to Our Life Purpose
Media giant Oprah Winfrey had a painful experience when her unmarried parents separated soon after she was born and left her in the care of her grandmother. Also, Self-help pioneer Dr. Wayne Dyer had experienced pain when his father left him at a very young age. But what makes these people able to move on from their bitterness over their past and inspire so many people? I believe it is their willingness to forgive their past and learn from that painful experience.
Ask yourself: What kind of pain have I had or have? How would you transform that pain into something beautiful that may inspire people? From all my painful experiences, I have created a collection of writings and reflections that I often share with people. Unexpectedly, I received many positive comments and thankfully, they find it helpful in dealing with similar issues they have from my experience. You see, I have found my life purpose to be a writer and coach that came from overcoming my bitterness and turning it around to a more positive experience.
Perhaps your pain about a past relationship inspires you to write a self-healing book? On the other hand, maybe your tough experience around getting a good education when you were a kid now encourages you to establish an institution, which facilitates better education for children. Your failure at a job could be what motivates you to become an entrepreneur. Pain often leads us closer to our life purpose. Dive deep into your greatest pain, and see that it can turn into your biggest virtue.
Pain Makes us Grow Through What We Go Through
I know it’s always hard to accept the pain in the beginning. However, once we get the lesson behind each experience, we realize that we always grow through what we go through.
Rumi said wound is the place where the light enters you. If you are currently being hurt, never deny it. Feel the pain and embrace it. You will find out soon that your pain is going to reveal something beautiful for your life. It makes you wiser day by day. Let the light enter you so you can continue to grow and be fruitful for the sake of yourself and others.
When there seems no way out of your pain, try to figure out the way in, within you. Trust me it will always freshen and satisfy your soul. Remember this, as popularly said: God never gives us what we can’t handle, as well as our pain. Pain will make us grow stronger than we could possibly imagine.
About the Author
Natalia is a heart worker and life school student. She has worked on areas of people development and family empowerment in Indonesia. She earned her master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Soegijapranata University. She enjoys writing about life wisdom and is currently working on a number of books. She believes that we always grow through what we go through. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @NatalDewi