Why I Learned to Love Emotional Pain & How It Can Change Your Life
I'm sure that most of us would agree that emotional pain is one of the least pleasant experiences that the life has to offer. It always seems to strike at the seemingly worst possible times, and can easily overwhelm our ability to effectively complete even the most basic of tasks with any level of focus.
With that being the case, it should come as no surprise that many of us often do whatever we can to minimize our chances of having to deal with it. We avoid relationships, hold ourselves back from much needed and long overdue conversations, and we stay complacent in our jobs all in the name of risk mitigation.
While this may seem like the wiser and less painful route to take, I can assure you that it is not, and it's something that I'm beyond grateful to be moving beyond. Here's why I learned to love emotional pain and why I believe avoiding it could be one of the most harmful decisions you are making.
Your Comfort Zone Isn't Comfortable
The easiest way to seemingly minimize pain within your life is to stay within your comfort zone, the range of experiences that is comprised solely of those things that you've already done to this point. It's simple, you've done it before, so you know what to expect and it's far less likely to thrust something unwanted your way than something you've never experienced.
This undoubtedly offers a degree of comfort, but only if you're truly comfortable functioning within a very compressed experience of life. Every time that we elect to stay within our comfort zone we minimize our potential exposure to outward emotional pain, but we inflict a far more damaging inward emotional and spiritual pain upon ourselves.
We metaphorically shrink this vast universe into a tighter and tighter box, policing ourselves from ever experiencing everything else that this world has to offer.
I'm not suggesting that we all need to be relentless adventurers, but that none of us are truly satisfied with only repeating our current life from this point forward, so let's stop pretending like that's okay.
How Pain Sets You Free
I've read and looked into various schools of thought when it comes to redefining how we look at and address pain, and the one that resonates with me the most is best described within the book The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower.
Within the book, readers are encouraged to transform their view of pain from something to be feared to instead see it as something that sets you free. Pain thrusts a new and challenging experience your way, giving you a direct opportunity to not only process something new but also better equip yourself for so much more.
The book outlines a particular visualization technique that I highly recommend you look into to help with this, but even without the book, take a second to reflect on all of the painful moments in your life thus far. Have they not all made you into a stronger individual?
We sacrifice so much of our lives to avoid pain as if doing so is going to remove its presence within our lives as a whole. Remind yourself that some pain is inevitable, so why not enjoy the human experience to the fullest knowing that pain will be a part of it, rather than try to control things and have to deal with pain anyways?
Don't Believe You Can Grow To Love Pain? Here's Proof You Can
As the old proverb goes, and as many people believe: you can't teach an old dog new tricks. While this certainly is true in some ways, that is definitely not the case when it comes to risk aversion. Even if you consider yourself to be among the most fearful of emotional pain, you are living proof that you do not need to stay that way.
All it takes is a mental shift from seeing your comfort zone as your range of experiences, to instead seeing it as your list of accomplishments thus far. Everything that is now securely within your comfort zone was once not there, and required you to take the risk of experiencing it.
You showed the courage to do that, may have experienced some painful bumps and bruises along the way, but I'm sure that you wouldn't undo those experiences at the expense of no longer being able to do what you proved yourself to be capable of.
So whether it's a potentially painful conversation, a risky decision, or the pursuit of something you keep putting off, stop letting the fear of pain win and opt to let the excitement of expanding your life guide you!
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