Have you noticed that the most compassionate, understanding, modest, and intuitive people seem to be those who have suffered, been oppressed, or are in constant search for life’s ultimate meaning? I have and I find that it is an interesting phenomenon. As stated in a previous article, it was not until rain and “dark-valleys” appeared in my life that I grew and could see my potential.
Pain gets our attention, refocuses our purpose, and breaks the human will to compete or be better than others and rise to the top to the exclusion of others. It adds character to some people, while with other people they may become bitter and angry with the world.
Once people begin to understand the personal qualities, rewards, and potential benefits to their pain and suffering, they can begin to reject bitterness and anger in favor of a growth experience designed to change, re-structure, and transform their mindset, their behavior, their life, their purpose.
For families and caregivers caring for loved ones, it is important that you learn to redefine your experience and to see hope in all the pain and suffering. It is very difficult to do this, but once the pain subsides to a level where you can reflect, you will be able to see where you have grown, what you have learned, and what you can possibly give to others.
Here is a list of reasons why we are better after pain and suffering:
- You are more open-minded and focused: When you experience pain you see the world differently including yourself and others. You approach life differently and you recognize that your time is better spent pursuing what truly matters and rejecting temporary pleasures.
- You can relate: Pain levels the playing field. We recognize our vulnerabilities and limits and become modest enough to reach out to others. We recognize that all of humanity is subject to many conditions of living (homelessness, abuse, domestic violence, loneliness, depression, mental health problems, loss of family and friends, financial difficulties, and death).
- You’re more pressed to succeed: One most important benefit to suffering is that when you become tired of suffering, somehow you begin to fight back. You look for ways to reduce the pressure and strive for a better way, a better level of existence. Think about the success stories that fit this profile (John Newton, Victor Frankl, Chris Gardner, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Dr. Seuss, etc.). There are many successful people today in many fields who were rejected, abused, or suffered some sort of pain. No one is exempt!
- You’re emotional: Have you ever spoken to a therapist, friend, or family member who just didn’t get you? They couldn’t understand why something hurt you so bad or even stopped you from moving forward. You get those distant, non-caring looks that make you feel odd or misunderstood. This person might claim to understand you and might even use their own personal experience as proof that they get you, but somehow you realize they don’t. When you’ve experienced pain, you truly understand, although not entirely, what pain can do to you. You have a close idea that helps you empathize.
Each time I experience a set back, disappointment, or hurtful life event I find myself more intuitive than before. Something happens and I begin to reach out to others without strict barriers. You can experience this too.
The next time you walk by someone who is homeless or see someone suffering and in pain, just consider the fact that these may be people who have wonderful talents, qualities, skills, and charm. When you walk by or see someone who is down on their luck, just remember that this could be you or someone you love too.