Necessity of Pain

girl in pink jacket on wooden bridge in the forest

Photo by Zac Frith on

I listen to a lot of educational seminars and one speaker spoke on the necessity of pain. I bristled at the thought. My life mission is to help others release the pain in their life.

The speaker suggested that pain was a path to information a person needs to learn in this lifetime and who are we to want to remove pain before they receive the gift that comes from embodying that lesson.

We can get uncomfortable when people don’t feel good around us. We just want to make them feel better so we can feel better. Especially when the pain is emotional. We may say things like, “they don’t really know you,” “they’re stupid for acting that way” or other affirming statements.

But what if you allowed the person to feel the pain and asked, “I wonder why you’re hurting so much from this” or “I’m sorry you’re hurting and I wonder if there is something deeper for you to discover from this.”

Emotions, in the moment last for only 90 seconds, so why try to bury them, not fully feel them, allow the energy to run it’s course through your body? The thing that keeps emotions going are the stories we make up about why we have those emotions.

The story is not constructive but the pain can be informative. It takes curious “I wonder …” questions and a willingness to feel into your body. Does the emotion cause pain in your shoulders? You stomach? Does it make you clench your jaw? Just notice those things  and feel them with awareness.

My own pain from expecting too much from my body when working in therapy and from events that impacted my business have birthed a new direction of creative endeavors and a way of helping other professional women who are struggling with burnout, stress, and chronic pain.

I help those women transform their deepest darkest pain into their greatest power. One thing I have them do during a triggering situation is to step on a ledge … take a moment to take a higher vantage point and look at the situation from the point of view of an observer.

And to notice what is the trigger, when have I felt that before, where in my body am I feeling this, what other situations make my body feel like this? To discover the answer within themselves to the question, “I wonder why this is happening?”

This allows a sliver of light to come in and allows you the time to decide, “do I react or do I respond?” There’s no right answer, because your decision is perfect for you in that moment. And you can look at that “perfect decision” later without judgement and consider other future options.

The more you are a conscious observer, the more light that comes in, the more you fully feel what is going on, the less the story is triggered, and you really start to embody your power. Being fully empowered is the lesson pain was trying to teach; once the lesson is learned, there is no necessity for pain and it disappears.

This process is not really work, it’s more about relaxing into a situation and letting go of your attachment to it. Suffering comes from holding on to something. We can be so unwilling to let go it keeps us stagnant, where we are, where we can’t evolve and see the next better thing down the road. Being stuck because things didn’t work out the way we wanted causes pain.

I’ll admit, even though the process isn’t work, it’s not easy. It’s not easy to relax and let go of those attachments. It’s not easy to feel into our body for 90 seconds and be curious. But it is doable, you can coach yourself through the process or be supported through the process by a coach. What is your pain telling you?

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