Those gut-wrenching feelings in the deepest corners of your heart, tears that don’t stop, that moment of absolute despair when you can’t think straight and are pushed into a state of despondency, and when the idea of picking yourself up and moving on seems ludicrous are the times when the shocking reality of the situation needs to be acknowledged. Disappointments, pain, and suffering are innate parts of your condition and have the potential to be your greatest teacher. You won’t always learn the lessons in a tender way, at times you’ll break open. You’ll have to let go of your existent notions and beliefs to make way for something new and novel.
The incidents and circumstances that change and shake everything up force you to face your fears. The inner demons and weaknesses are not revealed in the most subtle fashion, instead, they come out with a sudden strength shaking everything like a storm wiping everything you once knew and counted on. You stoop to the lowest level and a flurry of nightmarish thoughts find their home in you.
Times like these when the pain is so deep-rooted, it can be hard to imagine that you’ll ever get out of it and recover. The idea that one day you’d be grateful for the agony and disappointment seems implausible. Yet, you are always faced with a choice. The decision to let the pain consume you or use it to fuel your growth and development lies in your hands. This by no means will be simple, in fact, it would probably be the hardest thing you ever do. Pain can be used as an opportunity to push towards your greatest personal breakthroughs.
Glennon Doyle Melton said in her discussion with Oprah:
“Pain is a travelling professor and it goes and knocks on everyone’s door. The smartest people I know are the people who say, come in and don’t leave until you have taught me what I need to know.”
Pain has the power to crack you open so that light streams in and you can take that first, decisive step towards leading a more fulfilled life. Like post-traumatic stress, there is a psychological theory known as post-traumatic growth. It is not about slumping to the same life before the experience of pain and hurt. Instead, it is about undergoing significant changes that lead to a tectonic shift in your thinking and behaviour patterns. This, in turn, paves the way of permanent personal changes that are deeply meaningful.
Read about: How Pain Changes People
Here are a few things that you can do to turn your deep pain into your greatest superpower:
1. Feel The Pain
For pain to become your greatest reacher, skipping the feeling and the lesson won’t be of any help. Your emotions communicate your state of being to you. They are nothing to be feared, smothered, or pushed away. They just need to be heard and acknowledged. Turning away and not feeling them, will only make them stronger causing a state of numbness that will hamper you from experiencing the complete human spectrum.
Your emotions are your gateway to grasp a better understanding of yourself and your needs. You need to dig deep where the pain is stemming from to find out what is hurting. You must be willing to explore the complete range of emotions and feel them wholeheartedly to get a sense of what’s truly causing the ache. Journaling, therapy, coaching or even talking to a close friend or family finds a way to traverse and express your emotions.
Hurting is easy when heartbreak happens, but the question is what part of heartbreak is causing the pain? Is it that you feel cheated? Is it that you are grieving for someone who’s no longer by your side or the future that no longer exists? Do you feel like a failure and unworthy of love?
Feel the pain and explore the feelings until you arrive at the root cause of the hurt. Self-reflection and introspection will go a long way in deeper psychological growth.
2. Focus On The Lesson
In order to facilitate growth from pain, focus your mind on the lessons that can be derived out of the situation. Choosing to have a growth mindset is critical.
It doesn’t matter what the painful experience is, you can always find a lesson provided you look hard enough. If someone in your family is sick, you can learn to prioritise in life. If you have been through a heartbreak recently, you could probably learn to respect yourself more so that you don’t allow others to disrespect you in any way. If someone has ripped you off money, perhaps you could learn about trust.
Looking for the lesson is about taking control since you can’t endure pain indefinitely. You need to step up and grow by learning your lessons.
3. Resolve To Change
Once you can acknowledge your current situation and are willing to learn your lessons, you need to have an iron-clad resolve to change. Real, tangible growth is propelled by action. Once you start thinking and doing things differently, your pain transforms into your greatest superpower.
Reshuffling and reprioritising your life is paramount to focus on things that really matter to you and for them to play a bigger role. Resolving to look inside and knowing yourself truly before you begin to search for another romantic partner will bring out a more stable and lasting relationship. Having a better hang of finances and accounting will prevent any future ripoffs.
Real growth comes from a willingness to change.
It’s a little unfair that every time you have to learn something so valuable, you have to go through a hurricane of emotions or your lives have to fall apart but if it saves you from a lifetime of the same disappointments or mistakes, then maybe it’s worth it. Pain may be the best blessing in disguise as you turn your pain into your greatest superpower. However, it requires you to recognise where the pain originates from, learn the lessons to be learned, and convert your hard-earned knowledge into action. Once you do all of that, you will come out of the pain a stronger and wiser person.