Is there a Purpose for our Pain?

sad phone
sad phone (Photo credit: Ron Bennetts)

You bet there is!  And it’s far greater than just learning to persevere.  Our hardships actually offer us golden, priceless glimpses of our ultimate purpose.  Unfortunately, instead of collecting our treasures after such experiences, most of us do just the opposite and push aside any thought of the negative in our lives, feeling embarrassed or ashamed.  But it’s important to know that everyone follows this same rocky path (not just us) and often our biggest challenges are screaming for more attention, not less. Some of the most accomplished people throughout time have known to turn and face these things instead of running away – and the results have been remarkable.

After one of her first on-the-air appearances, Katie Couric’s boss said he “never wanted to see her on the air again.”  She went on to being the first female anchor of a major nightly newscast.

Walt Disney was told that he “lacked imagination” – and went on to create the most “magical place on Earth.”

Oprah Winfrey  faced poverty, came from a broken family, and was sexually molested – yet went on to become one of the world’s most respected voices, using her work to uncover issues of shame and help people empower themselves with greater understanding.

Pain and Failure often point the way to your life purpose

English: Oprah Winfrey at the White House for ...Contrary to conventional thinking, examining your greatest life challenges and so-called failures can often point you in the direction of your ultimate purpose.  Upon closer inspection of my own life, I can definitely see correlations in even the smallest of details.  In grammar school, I always received low marks in using time wisely. Without conscious intention, my life has indeed become an exercise in “using time wisely.”  As a television producer, I was responsible for timing shows and segments down to the second – and now, as a writer, I must constantly meet stringent deadlines.  My husband always struggled with math in school, and now due to his extreme diligence with numbers, he analyses and improves the profit making potential of a multi-million dollar company.  My cousin spent her youth worrying about and taking care of her often sickly mother, and now uses those hard-earned skills daily as a nurse for a large, metropolitan hospital. Take a look at your own life and see if you can draw some parallels between your challenges and your greatest successes.  What you find hidden there may be the beginnings of your own personal treasure map!

Healing and Growth potential on steroids

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” – Buddha

If we can change our attitudes about pain and devote ourselves to learning the valuable lessons they provide we can grow and evolve into stronger, happier people.  While finding forgiveness and acceptance may not be the easiest things to do, they’re the only way to release ourselves from an emotional prison.  And there’s an added benefit – acknowledging and working through our own problems naturally gives us more compassion and understanding toward others.  We realize that life’s not easy for anyone and, through a greater sense of empathy, take our rightful roles as helpers instead of victims – offering a hand to those in need.

A glimpse of something greater

And along the way, we often become aware of something powerful and undefined at work in our life. People have long known that human beings consist of Mind, Body and Spirit – but the Spirit part of the equation has mostly been a mystery.  It represents that unlimited field of potential where the inspiration for great works of art, increased clarity, and the “peace that surpasses all understanding” reside.  Pain and hardship can bring us to our knees and make us cry out in desperation – an act known throughout history as “The Dark Night of the Soul” – and it’s Spirit that answers our call.

As a journalist, I’ve investigated the purpose of pain and found that there are indeed answers to this obscure question. In my book, Pain, Passion & Purpose, I’ll share them with you. It’s is my sincerest hope that this book will inspire you, motivate you, and lead you on a new and exciting adventure toward your own highest purpose!  This time when that old, familiar ache comes calling, don’t push it away but instead invite it in and ask what it can teach you.  Pain Passion & Purpose is available now in paperback or on Kindle.

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