In the training and physical fitness realm, all of us have heard the term No Pain, No Gain before and some agree and some disagree with it. Lets take a look at this saying from a perspective of overall health and lifestyle. First lets define what pain is and Webster's gives us 2 definitions.
: the physical feeling caused by disease, injury, or something that hurts the body
: mental or emotional suffering : sadness caused by some emotional or mental problem
These two definitions are good but lets break it down to it's primal roots. Pain is an indicator. That's it. Our society has put the negative connotations on it but at it's roots it is really only an indicator. It is neither positive nor negative at it's basic existence. We are the ones that put a negative spin on it.
If we start to take a real assessment of our life and society in general, everything is designed to ignore or help us mask pain. Think about it, we have ibuprofen (and stronger drugs) that takes away our body aches without addressing why our body aches. We also have drugs like SSRIs that attempt to take away the pain of depression without addressing why we are depressed. We have things like insurance that protects us from financial pain but in reality doesn't protect us. Our society at large tells us that pain is bad and we need to do everything possible in order to avoid it.
What if pain is not bad?
If pain exists then perhaps it has a purpose?
What if pain is the signal that we need for us to change?
What if pain is something that we should embrace?
What if the pain that we experience from a failed relationships is there so we don't make the same mistakes twice?
What if the constant body aches and pains are a reminder that we are not living the healthy life we are supposed to?
What if the loneliness and pain that we experience is a reminder that we need to develop a spiritual life and that not another human, object or drug will fulfill us?
What if our knees or lower back aching in pain is a reminder that we need to achieve an acceptable weight?
Pain is real and is our built-in warning system. It has a purpose and we should be thankful for its purpose. It is either telling us to change or giving us resistance so that we can become stronger.
I do not want to speak for everyone but the most successful people that I know can look back on their life and they are thankful for the painful times because it brought change in their lives that made them who they are today. I look back on my life and I complete agree that all of the pain and suffering was the best thing that ever happened to me because it led to change.
Our ignoring or masking of pain is going to do two things, keep us in the same rut that we are in and keep us from achieving our purpose and dreams.
Pain is inevitable and has a purpose, how we choose to deal with it is up to us.
A wise Jewish carpenter once said: "In the world you will have tribulation (pain). But take heart: I have overcome the world."
You too can choose to overcome.