Pain is a reality of life ― 3 min read

Pain is a reality of life and we should reconcile ourselves to this fact and embrace it if we want to live in a free and fulfilling way.

Sometimes we get sick, or hurt, or find ourselves in difficult situations. If we don't learn how to accept and deal with these realities then we will be tempted to try and avoid them, but by avoiding them we can actually end up suffering a lot more. We may also cause more pain and suffering to those around us. This is why I believe that facing pain head on and unflinchingly is an essential skill that greatly improves our lives and the lives of those around us.

The person who flees pain lives in a prison and the person who can cope and thrive in the world as it is lives a life of freedom. To such a person there really isn't much that can't be achieved.

Think how much time is spent suffering through difficult situations that we are too afraid to change or do anything about. We can spend days, or even weeks, months, or years enduring a situation that we are not happy with in order to save ourselves a short-term difficulty that could have been overcome when it first arose. Ironically it is through attempting to minimize pain and suffering that we can actually prolong and increase the overall harm we cause to ourselves and those around us.

So much suffering is just anticipation of how bad something is going to be, but once it has happened we realize it wasn't as bad as we thought. We also discover that we can deal with similar situations much more effectively the next time they arise.

Practice pushing through your limitations, the sense of accomplishment you get as you do this will be a reward in and of itself, however, as the obstacles in your life fall away you will also experience an increased freedom to take on new challenges. Eventually pain and suffering will no longer be standing between you and the life you want to lead.

Practice washing yourself in ice cold water without flinching, talk to a stranger, climb something tall and look down, go for a run, have a difficult conversation with someone, assert yourself, sit perfectly still doing nothing for 20 minutes, do some public speaking. Whatever it is that challenges you, face it head on, look it in the eyes and move through it. All suffering passes. You have no greater enemies than the ones you imagine in your mind. Reality is often a very different thing to what you imagine it to be, there is no truer way to live than by diving into it head first.

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