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Pain: Wield It or Let It Destroy You

“In life, stress happens when you resist. Never oppose force with force. Instead, absorb it and use it.”

 

When we sense any type of force in our lives – pain, worry, anxiety, regret, incompetence – our first reaction is almost always to push back…

To try harder, to do more, to “overcome” or “overpower” whatever force is challenging us.

It’s as if we feel the need to rise above and conquer this force. Most specifically…

pain.

 

When we’ve been through something that hurts, something that altered how we expected life to be, something that was ripped from us like pulling a fish hook straight out instead of carefully removing it, we move forward in life with this aching pain that nags at us almost every second of the day.

Sometimes it goes away, but it returns in waves causing you to nearly go into a coma because of the nostalgic memory that reminds you of what you had and/or what could have been.

When this happens it hurts, and it hurts bad.

All you want is to forget the pain. To overcome it and push it away for good. So that’s what you try and do.

When something triggers a memory or a feeling, that wave of pain comes crashing down on you and you try to throw it right off or duck under it to avoid it at all cost.

The problem with this, however, is that you never overcome the pain. You run from it, you push it away, but you never conquer it.

It will keep returning and you will keep facing the same battle over and over again. You never learn how to wield its power.

Now that’s a novel thought –

 

Wield your pain.

 

But how?

I’m still figuring it out, but I do know how it’s not done. And that’s trying to push it off. Trying to fight back or trying to run from it and evade it. It just keeps. coming. back.

I think the secret is to feel the pain.

Plant your feet, breathe deep, and allow the pain to enter your body. Allow it yourself to feel it without trying to fight back or run. BUT… do not allow yourself to become it.

This is key.

The problem with pain is that we allow it to become us. When we feel the painful emotions and memories, we allow those emotions to control us and we essentially become our emotions. We become the pain.

And that’s when real damage is done. That’s when we slip into depression, remorse, regret…

So it’s a fine line…

you must allow the pain to enter you, but not become you.

 

This makes me think of one of my favorite movie clips of all time… from Kung Fu Panda. Watch the whole thing:

 

Just as Po learned how to tap into his Inner Peace and wield his enemy’s attacks, we, too, can learn how to wield our pain.

This is something I’ve been experimenting with (seeing how I’ve been experiencing some difficult pain in the past few months). And I think the way to do this is to learn how to take a step back from your emotions and view yourself from a meditative mind — almost as if you were viewing yourself from a third person’s perspective.

This is done by detaching yourself from your thoughts and emotions.

I wrote about this in a blog post a while back about how to meditate but I’ll go into it a little here.

When you meditate, you’re essentially trying to separate yourself from your day-to-day thoughts. Thoughts enter your brain like a storm and as we go about our day we don’t have the time or energy to stop and detach from them (or we think we don’t have the time—you actually do 😉).

So, when you meditate, you can set apart a small portion of your day to not allow yourself to be dominated or controlled by your thoughts.

But the key is you are not controlling them either. You are simply taking a step back and noticing them.

You are experiencing them only as a viewer, not as a participant. Just like watching a movie, you witness the actor go through emotions and you might feel a portion of them, but you aren’t the actor so they don’t control you.

This is how you detach from your thoughts. You witness them as a viewer and you view them with a slight sense of curiosity —

“What specifically is causing me to feel this emotion?”

“What does this thought mean?”

“Where does it come from?”

When you experience pain, don’t push it away. Let it enter your mind and body but do so with the intention to only view it and explore it with curiosity and compassion.

Com·pas·sion
/kəmˈpaSHən/
noun

1. sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

Compassion is a powerful tool you probably didn’t realize you had. Not compassion towards others, but towards yourself.

For some reason, it’s much easier to feel compassion towards other’s sufferings but when it comes to ourselves, we struggle—at least I do.

When I’ve experienced pain, I immediately feel the urge to push it off. But deeper than that, I feel like it’s something I should be over by now, or that I’m weak and that’s why it hurts so bad.

But recently, I’ve discovered that these feelings are monumentally destructive lies.

When you’ve been hurt and you’re feeling the repercussions of it, the most damaging thing you can do is to try and overcome it as fast as possible.

Or better put, telling yourself you’re fine, that you’re tough, and that you should be able to get over it by now is only going to cause you more pain.

Should.

Arguably the most damaging word in the English language.

Should only means you are demeaning and demoralizing yourself because you haven’t reached an expectation you’ve conjured up in your mind — either from yourself or from societal pressure.

Should means you are not grateful nor accepting of your current situation. That you are dissatisfied with your life.

Should is sh💩t.

So anytime you catch yourself thinking or feeling “I should”, stop and recognize that it’s a lie.

People talk about it all the time…

Love yourself.

To be honest, whenever I used to hear this phrase I would roll my eyes and say, “K, done, I love myself. What’s next.”

But I think I’m finally starting to understand this concept.

Loving yourself isn’t giving yourself a hug and thinking, “Wow, I’m so awesome and I love who I am.”

I think the true power in self-love comes from having compassion towards your past self. 

Looking back on where you’ve been and the decisions you’ve made and feeling compassion and understanding towards the younger, more naive you who didn’t know any better and was only trying his/her best.

I think a lot of pain comes from feeling regret or remorse towards decisions you’ve made. 

You think that if you could have done something differently you wouldn’t be experiencing the pain you feel right now. And those types of thoughts can destroy you.

This is where the power of compassion comes in. This might be a little weird, but I’ll give you an example of the type of self-talk I’ve done that I’ve done to illustrate this:

“Wow, Chad was really only trying his best with what he had and what he knew. Although he might have not made ‘the absolute best’ decisions, he was doing the best he could. He was just young, naive, and learning.” 

This type of self-talk is accepting and understanding of your past. It is having compassion towards the younger you. And you sorta have to do it in that third person voice for it to work.

And that’s where having the meditative mind comes in. When you’re in the viewer’s perspective and observing your thoughts and feelings instead of becoming them, you can catch yourself feeling the “shoulds” of your past.

And when you do catch yourself, reach into yourself and find the infinite power of compassion. Find love for yourself, your past self. And find peace in knowing that it’s OK to feel what you’re feeling.

You. Are. Human.

Feeling pain is human. So accept it. Embrace it. Learn from it. And sooner than later you will be able to wield it and become someone stronger, happier, and more importantly…

You’ll be able to find your Inner Peace by having peace and confidence with where your life is right now.

“In life, stress happens when you resist. Never oppose force with force. Instead, absorb it and use it.”

 

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