For the longest time, I have been having difficulty with how we treat each other, particularly about pain. I have been hard pressed to understand it.
If we are not aware of pain, we cannot manage our world well. Pain is a sign that we need to make a change; it is important information and more often than not it is suppressed. If all we do is suppress pain until we explode or become ill then it makes sense that we have a lot of violent crime, war, and illness. And we do.
How can we do better? We can start by becoming aware of what pain can do for us. Here are some ideas:
- pain can tell us when we have eaten the wrong food
- pain can show us when we have eaten a toxic food or drink
- pain can tell us when the person we are talking to is not our friend
- pain can show us when we are overextended financially, physically and emotionally
- pain can tell us when a change is necessary
- pain can show us that we have disregarded our inner voice and are now suffering as a result
- pain can tell us that we are doing the wrong work
- pain can show us that our work needs to be of higher quality
- pain can tell us that we missed an opportunity: to be kind, to be present or to be loving
- pain can show us that we have harmed someone else.
- pain can tell us when something is not working
- pain can show us when something is ending
- pain can tell us that we are living the wrong dream
- pain can show us when we have given up on ourselves.
- pain can tell us when we have given up on someone else.
- pain can show us that we are not being honest with ourselves
- pain can tell us we are not being honest with others
- pain can show us that we have no business looking down on others
- pain can tell us that it huts when someone looks down on us
- pain can show us when we are not true to ourselves.
To some degree, pain is inevitable because we all make mistakes. None of us knows it all, is perfectly competent, or has perfect vision. We can only do the best that we can. When we miss the mark, we have a learning experience. If we avoid the pain, we miss the learning experience and keep making mistakes until we do learn. Sometimes we simply need to mourn our losses.
Pain and pleasure are both important tools for helping us make life a positive experience. Denying the importance of pain is a way to deny ourselves important information and important parts of ourselves, including our capacity for compassion. It is time to bring pain out of the closet and give it its due.