When we speak of growth, we speak of advancement, expansion, maturation, blooming, and rising beyond our current state. We know growth is not confined to physical changes.
In fact, mental, emotional, or spiritual growth is often more challenging than the changes we encounter in our physical being. These changes can be driven by a variety of factors, including pain.
You may think that living in a world without pain would make us better, but here’s why we shouldn’t shy away from negative experiences.
Also, check out our collection of inspirational pain quotes to remind you that hurt is a part of growing up and it’s how we learn.
How Pain Can Lead To Growth
1. Pain forces us to choose
Our personal development and growth often takes shape during unexpected journeys and the experiences we must deal with when we find ourselves during tough predicaments. These can make us question our determination and test our perseverance.
To grow, we must fight the tug of war between:
a.) Maintaining the status quo (our current comfort level), and;
b.) Daring to search for that pot of gold that waits at the end of the rainbow.
It’s a difficult choice to make. In our quest to grow, if we choose the latter, we’re bound to hit speed bumps, fall, get lost, discouraged, lose prized possessions, and even break the bonds of a few relationships!
Walking away from people and possessions can be quite painful. But sometimes, it’s required to clear the path that leads us to the goal we seek. So regardless of the pain we feel, we must make hard choices if we want to fulfill our dreams.
2. Pain encourages change, which propels us to grow.
When we encounter failure or loss, we are forced to reflect on our choices, our decisions, and ourselves. In these instances, we evaluate what we do and how we do it.
We open our eyes, ears, and hearts to recognize insecurities or shortcomings. It is in this state that we are most likely to check our ego and embrace humility.
In so doing, we often find ourselves at a place where we are willing to admit that there are choices we make that may not be aligned with our goals. We need to be ‘primed’ for change. Sometimes, we just need a ‘do over’. What may have seemed unlikely can become a reality because of our pain.
Haruki Murakami, phrased it well:
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
3. Pain drives us to seek help.
Failure or difficult experiences can humble us. This humility usually allows us to interpret situations differently, or view people in a new light. We begin to see others as partners, helpers, and mentors, not simply as competitors.
We become open to leaning on others and asking for help. We share our thoughts and ideas. Instead of focusing on aggressively taking from others, we see the strength we can gain when we reciprocate.
We realize that to be a winner in life doesn’t mean you have to knock someone else down or block their path, it means you run the best race you possibly can.
Sometimes without pain, we can’t be forced to engage with others. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness that can be used against us by others. Instead, define them as opportunities to connect, network, and expand the depth of our experiences.
4. Pain serves as an incubator for growth.
Pain has the potential to serve as a conduit to help us form new ideas. Sometimes, when we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we are forced to not simply focus and work hard – we are forced to “think creatively”.
Look at options that you would otherwise not consider or have even thought of. Out of what seemed dark and desolate, imagination will blossom as we attempt to fight our way from a condition that we find overwhelming. It’s that state of choosing to either: give up, or make a way out.
From a painful position, summon every bit of courage, strength, and wisdom, you have to craft solutions and alternatives. Use your pain to map a course of action. Turn your stance from being defensive (trying to survive), to being on the offensive (directing your path).
With renewed perseverance, you will be resilient to face any situation. Our painful experiences can result in personal growth and development beyond our expectations.
5. Pain builds our knowledge and experience, giving us tools for success.
We’ve heard this saying before, “Experience is the best teacher!” Pain builds experience. In fact, pain builds a storehouse of do’s and don’ts we can all call upon as we make decisions and take actions. The obstacles and setbacks that hurt us today, can serve to protect us in the future.
If we take these events as lessons learned, we don’t make the same mistakes. We don’t need to encounter the same losses because we now know how to quickly turn the situation around.
Every experience serves as an example to propel us forward; decreasing our fear and helping us grow. Each painful experience builds our understanding. This builds our self-confidence and prepares us to deal with a multitude of situations that lie ahead.
Without pain, we can’t flourish. So don’t run away from it – face it head on so you can find your way to success. Pain provides the tools we need to beat every challenge. Then we will live the words of Booker T. Washington:
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”