Pain. It’s an interesting word, isn’t it? For some it means suffering and anguish mentally and physically. For others it means the opportunity to grow past the discomfort into something better. Which person are you?
For most of my life I’ve avoided pain. I liked the idea of being loved, but I didn’t like the pain of the uncertain outcome on the other side of becoming vulnerable in relationships. I liked the idea of changing, but I avoided the pain of the process to become who I wanted to be. I liked the idea of bringing order to my world of chaos, but avoided the potential pain of the loss of things in my life that wouldn’t make the cut.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve started a diet in order to lose those extra pounds only to jump off that wagon as soon as it had me in the painful emotional throes of sacrificing what I thought I wanted in order to serve the vision I desired. Anyone else experienced this?
It’s not that we don’t want to change, we do. It’s just that we didn’t think it was going to be this hard! Sometimes on our way to becoming that person we most want to be we feel surrounded by almost nothing but pain and are faced with a decision – Do I continue down this path and grow past this momentary discomfort into something better? or Do I get back on the comfortable path and avoid the pain of progress so that I can feel better now?
Along the road of my journey, I have realized that in order to become a successful person of any sort one must become comfortable with pain.
Most of the pain we deal with on a consistent basis is the mental anguish caused by fear. Fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of danger. There are so many things to be afraid of we end up sitting still and not doing anything. We affectionately call this our “comfort zone.” Unfortunately, that same place that we once declared “comfortable” eventually becomes a source of great pain when we desire to grow beyond it and can’t seem to get past the fear of moving out of this “comfortable” spot.
The truth is, we need to grow. If something isn’t growing, it’s dying. Pain is a part of growth. How is it that we can expect to make a life worth living without the pain of growing beyond every comfortable spot that would have held our greatness hostage to its promise of certainty and security? Great lives aren’t built on their passion for security, but on their desire to grow and on their passion to serve others with their greatness.
Nelson Mandela, a man well-acquainted with pain, once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
A life of greatness is not built on the premise that I will never experience pain but that the presence of pain is the opportunity for me to conquer my fear and be brave enough to grow into my greatness.
So, I’ll ask again, which person are you?