The Hidden Gift in Pain

Everyone suffers pain at one time or another, and some suffer more than others. Pain seems to be an inevitable if occasional, byproduct of certain life experiences.

We experience physical pain from cuts, bruises, broken bones, and other injuries. For the most part, physical pain seems to be relatively short-lived, and we usually recover from these kinds of issues pretty quickly.

On the other hand, mental, emotional, or spiritual pain, no matter where it comes from, can be much more debilitating. Some people experience this kind of pain for years! While most folks find creative ways to cope with this but unless they do the inner work necessary to heal the underlying wounds, they may journey a whole lifetime dragging this pain around with them wherever they go.

The journey

In my own life, I went through many childhood experiences that led me to the unconscious belief that I had to count on everyone outside of me to know who I am. Because I wanted approval from my parents and other adults and authority figures, I did everything I could to accommodate the demands of society. In a sense, I became a “people-pleaser.” But in the process of doing this, I gradually became less and less connected to the truth of who I really am.

This trend continued until I was in my early 40s when a wake-up call following my mother’s death alerted me to the fact that I had become an angry and resentful man. I had become a parody of my true self, a poster boy for the dysfunctional! Not exactly what I had dreamed about when I was in my early teens!

I had spent immeasurable time and energy over these 40 years shutting down my feelings, stuffing all my emotions, trying to go along with what I believed society wanted from me. It wasn’t until my wake-up call happened that I came to realize just how unhappy I really was. In fact, because of all the anger and resentment I was feeling, there was no room for anything else.

As it happens, I wasn’t able to find the real help I needed in Edmonton where I was living, so I ended up abandoning ship. I quit my graduate program, told my wife I wanted a divorce and left my family in search of truth. And a new life.

Of course, that decision didn’t resolve the pain. No, the pain came with me to Silicon Valley, and even though I slipped into a depression that was enough to trigger thoughts of suicide, it was the inner vision of my fatherless children that stayed my hand. And thank God for that! Because synchronicity connected me with all kinds of therapists, workshop leaders, gurus, teachers, and coaches who helped me to unravel the spaghetti tangle of confused beliefs in my mind. And after about 10 years of personal growth, I finally came back to the truth of who I really am. And this is where the pain finally ended for me.

This had been a difficult and challenging journey, but it turns out that it was a necessary one. Re-discovering the truth of who I am made me realize that most people on this planet go through much the same kind of conditioning. We are all taught to obey our parents, our teachers, our religious leaders, and other authorities, and to look to them for guidance about how we are supposed to act, and how we are supposed to be. It seems that almost everyone is living a life as some caricature of what society makes of them, rather than living in the full and joyous expression of who they really are.

If I had not gone through my own difficult journey, I would never have realized this, and I would never have connected to the deepest understanding of why I am really here on this planet. You see, I now realize that my whole purpose for being is to help people return to the truth of who they really are so that they can experience a fulfilling and joyous life that is packed with purpose, passion, and peace.

Take a moment now to reflect on your own life.

  • What is the deepest and most profound pain you have experienced (or are experiencing)?
  • If you choose to ignore this pain, or just cope with it, what do you imagine your life will be like in one year? Five years? Ten years?
  • For a moment, imagine this pain to be your most uncompromising and loving friend. What do you suppose the pain is trying to tell you about your life?
  • What small steps are you willing to take right now, today, to begin the process of healing that pain and getting back to the truth of who you really are?

The gift

No matter what pain you might have, and no matter how long it has persisted in your life, understand that somewhere within it is a gift that only you can recognize.

You can choose to continue struggling and to manage your pain with whatever coping strategies you invent.

Or you can choose to dive right into the deep end (metaphorically, of course!) and examine that pain from every angle until you discover its gift; then you can heal the pain and bring the gift back to share with the world. Believe me, the world needs that gift!

Uncover and heal your pain; discover and share your passion.

Connect with David McLeod on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!

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