Pain is the Best Teacher

We all want to avoid pain. It’s not fun to be shackled to chains of hurt, grief, betrayal, unforgiveness, and bitterness. We carry the weight and heaviness of pain around us like bricks and it impacts every part of us. Sometimes, when we are actively living in hurt, it feels like the cloud will never lift and that we will always feel the way we do 

No one will escape this life without walking through something extremely painful. The soul changing kind of pain. The kind that divides our lives into the before and the after. We can succumb to the pain and stay in anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness for the rest of our lives, or we can choose to use our pain to create purpose. 

With distance and a lot of hard work to heal, I have learned to be grateful for my deepest pain and my most difficult challenges. The times where I was most broken, were the times I was also built. Without the pain, I wouldn’t have found my strength. Pain, in many ways, has become my greatest teacher.

Pain has taught me:

That my peace is never determined by anyone or anything outside of myself. No matter what someone else does or doesn’t do, or what events are out of my control, I will never give away my power again. It is mine. My peace is mine to create and protect and I choose whether or not to let someone else affect it. 

My worth has nothing to do with the opinions or actions of anyone else. I am worthy because I am. I am worthy because I was created by God. 

What really matters. Once you’ve experienced life changing pain, you quickly learn how much energy you wasted on the smallest things that have no real impact on your life. You learn to let go of the small things because you’ve seen the bigger picture. It all becomes relative. 

To trust my instincts. Never again will I talk myself out of gut feelings. If it feels wrong in my gut, I walk away from it. If I feel pulled toward it, I force myself to put aside my insecurities and doubts and move toward it. Following my instincts has never led me astray. 

Who my people are. When you’ve been stripped down to raw humanness, something in you deepens. You have less tolerance for meaningless and surface connections and you gravitate toward people that can meet you in the depths. You find the people that pour light into the darkness, the ones that make you feel safe, the ones that build you up. Pain has a way of aligning you with the exact people that you need most. 

That my life and happiness is on me. The experiences I choose, the people I give my energy to, the choice to forgive and let go of what weighs me down, the decision to say yes to more things that scare me and no to the things that do not fill me up. I am the one actively designing the life I want. I’ll never again passively sit back and let life happen to me. I will happen to life. 

That life is ever changing. Nothing remains as it was forever. We grow, we adapt, we experience losses and our lives grow around those scars. People leave us and people find us. As much as we want to hold on to what was, life keeps going. 

That it is in the darkest experiences of our lives that we harness the most light. We can keep that light inside and snuff it out, or we can open ourselves up and share that light with others. We can choose to leave behind a trail to light the path out of darkness for others. In walking others through the darkness, purpose is born from our pain. 

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