Battling Injury: Using Pain for Personal Growth and Development
by Sarah Loogman
“Pain is the great teacher of mankind. Beneath its breath souls develop.” – Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
Pain sucks. Injuries suck. If we let it, physical suffering can rob us of our own humanity – our identity in who we are. This is especially true of athletes but the scope of this concept extends far beyond just physical performance. Who we are and what we believe about ourselves is intricately connected to our physical being, regardless of the type of pain that we perceive. But that’s just it; we don’t have to let it control us.
Physical pain is the easiest to identify. We can typically point out exactly where it’s at and it impacts our movement and health. When we become unable to do the things that we did before or when we begin to experience pain that weakens our skills, it’s natural to become frustrated but we very often allow this to grow into anger or even varying degrees of depression.
What most people perceive about pain is that they have become a victim – that something has happened to them and that they no longer maintain control of a particular situation, movement or desired outcome. So maybe they follow protocol to redemption, but they are left simply waiting – wishing for something more or regretting certain situations. Eventually, they hope, relief will come and freedom will return. Yet so often, it doesn’t. Chronic pain comes in many forms but it plagues so much of the world around us. There is a fundamental problem in how we look at pain.
What if, instead of becoming a victim, we look at pain as a sort of lesson? Not as in “you deserved that” and now you’re paying for some greater principle learned, but that we looked at our pain as a type of map or guidance to identifying weakness, deficiency or any misalignment to who we are or what we could be at our highest potential. Pain can redirect us, guide us and teach us – if we allow it.
At their greatest extremes, heat and cold feel identical. The idea of universal polarity and opposites exists in every dynamic. Finding balance is what creates harmony within natural context. Pain is not an end-all. Pain is not pain alone and it can only consume us if we allow it. We simply have to find the counter balance to it. What is the other side of the coin to your pain and how can you strengthen it? Pain is not combated with complacency, depression, or surrender. You fight pain by running straight at it with just as much force as it’s coming at you.
Relief from suffering isn’t about returning to our old selves, before the pain existed, but to a better self found in moving forward. When you incur an injury or you experience suffering, you’ve given a chance to learn and grow. Stop having regrets and stop trying to get back to how things were and move forward to what they will be.
What is your pain telling you?
Also Check Out…