Do We Really Want to Be Pain-Free?

img092I’ve been in pain – mentally, emotionally, physically. I’ve had to deal with pain for so long that I considered a permanent solution. Thankfully I was able to hold on long enough to see the other side. To know that there was a pain-free existence if I was able to make the decisions I needed to get there.

So my initial response to this question is a resounding ‘Hell Yes!’.

It’s human nature to avoid pain and discomfort, so much so that exercise has become a four letter word, the pharmaceuticals is a billion dollar industry, and marijuana has become a miracle ‘all-natural’ wonder drug.

But is avoiding pain at all costs good, beneficial, for us?

I know there are sayings floating around out there about how we can’t truly appreciate anything or be happy if we don’t suffer pain, but they just make me want to hurl something across the room. Because the people who came up with them don’t seem to know what real pain is. And really how do any of us know what pain is like for another person? We all have different breaking points – a different threshold for pain.

So I’m not going to presume that my pain is worse than yours and vice versa. It just is and it sucks. I think we can all agree on that.

But I’ve been around long enough to know that there is an end to every pain, one way or another. Sometimes we need help dealing with the pain – I’m not anti-drug – but what would happen if instead of avoiding pain at all costs we considered the options before we popped a pill or smoked a joint?

I know there are illnesses and diseases that require medicine, but how much of our pain is self-inflicted? And if we just changed our lifestyle and habits the pain would go away or at the very least lesson? What if we learned to live with the pain?

Would we find that eventually the pain ended on its own? Or that we could learn creative problem-solving skills we wouldn’t have otherwise if we were numb to the pain?

You can never know how much I wish I never had to experience the pain I did when I was younger. It came very close to crushing me and it still affects me all these years later. It makes me want to take the pain away for everyone else, because no one should have to hurt that much.

But then I run into people who spend their whole lives running from pain, avoiding anything that would cause them discomfort, and I see how miserable they are because no matter how much they medicate themselves the pain is still there. Lurking, waiting for a weak moment to pounce and cause even more devastation.

So as much as it sucked I’m glad I felt that pain, not because I’m happier or pain-free now, but because it gave me perspective. It gave me knowledge that nothing and no one can ever take away from me – numbing the pain (either by pill or smoke) isn’t always the answer. It gave me experience to know that pain won’t kill me no matter how bad it is and there is always the other side, the after.

But most importantly it gave me – me.

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