You may have been wondering about my slogan. What do I mean by “Life is Pain – And so is passion?” Well, my Ponderbots, allow me to explain.
Life is more than just pain, obviously, but I wanted to focus on this particular aspect that consumes such a large portion. It’s easy to want to find a way to push away pain. It’s there all around us, and yet, it always feels so unnatural, so wrong, like it is something that should not exist. And yet it does exist and quite frequently it is a dominating factor in our wellbeing.
Everyone finds their own individual versions on how to cope with pain. Some might pretend its not there at all. They fake the smiles, bottle up the emotions, and push it down far deep and away. Others might try to avoid it at all cost, sheltering their lives in a box that holds a limited amount of life. Still others might attempt to mask it with a distraction of some sorts.
Whatever the method of choice, I can’t help but notice, tragically, that the pain is still there. Denial doesn’t change a truth. Avoidance only leads to a new version of pain. Masking can only hide a problem for a temporary amount of time, it can never be a permanent solution.
This may seem rather gloomy, and you are right, it is, but my thought process is, why not embrace it? Not that we should deny the joy that it is there. Joy should be equally embraced, but life being the fickle thing that it is, makes it possible to hold multiple emotions simultaneously.
If the idea of embracing pain makes you cringe, allow me to share with you the benefits that I have found from this particular reframing:
Validation holds a power like none other. Knowing other people suffer in the same way we do is a huge part of feeling emotionally supported. We want to know that our pain is real and that it holds, at the very least, a measure of validity. This pain that we don’t know what to do with gets trapped inside our hearts and minds. It tears us apart even more if we think that we are the only ones struggling with it. We feel isolated, crazy, or maybe like a freak. When we hear that someone else hurts in the same way we do, it eases the tension and gives us that much needed reassurance that we are not alone in this world.
If we hear about someone’s success and that is all we hear, it is easy to think that they achieved it out of some uncontrollable luck that was graced upon them. We might think, “Why am I not so lucky? Am I not good enough?” It can lead to feeling inferior, which can lead to giving up. However, if we hear the struggles a person has to get to a success, and we realize that they had to battle all of the same human struggles that we are going through ourselves, then it may just inspire us to keep the hope and keep fighting.
CONVERT THE PAIN TO OUR BENEFIT
If we can accept that pain exists and do not shy away from it, then we can use it to our advantage. Instead of avoiding pain, we can put our energy into a specific type of pain in order to achieve an outcome.
“How can we do this?!” you ask excitedly in your skepticism. Let me give you an example:
Should we never exercise or eat healthy, our bodies will eventually have health problems and be in pain. However, if we exercise and eat healthy, it may be a painful process now, but it’s pain that will achieve something in the long run.
You see, pain is still part of the equation, but in this scenario, we can choose which pain we are willing to suffer with. When we embrace the pain, we can then ask the question: What type of pain will lead us to a productive outcome?
PASSION IS PAIN
There will, of course, be pain that we have no control over, which I won’t deny is a huge source of our pain. When this happens, we still have options. We can use one of our proven blocking of pain listed at the beginning, which is sure to feel safe and produce no outcome, or we can channel it into something that we care about.
Channeling pain is part of what makes art so beautiful and alive. For instance, how a sad song can be medicine for our spirits, or how a stand-up comic can bring a laugh to an otherwise horrifying situation. These things can fill our souls and make us feel like we have purpose. This is more than just a hobby to keep us from being bored. It brings vibrancy and color to an otherwise dull existence.
What kind of passion should we choose? Get ready for the answer to this because it is the most exciting part of it all: Anything. Anything done with heart can change hearts and minds if we have the courage to make ourselves vulnerable and authentic with it.
What fills us with love? What fills us with fire? What are we willing to suffer for?
Life is pain – and so is passion. If pain is always going to be part of the equation, then let’s find our passion and unapologetically dive into that which makes being alive worth it.