(Excerpt from Pain, Passion & Purpose )
Picture it – a perfect world: you’re healthy, successful, incredibly attractive and loved. You succeed at everything you try and other people can’t help but recognize your brilliance. Ah, if it were only so!
Unfortunately that’s only a fantasy, and in reality there are always areas of our lives that could use some improvement. In fact, the real world seems intent upon pushing us to the brink. Although most of us don’t think of adversity as a gift, it really can be. There’s a purpose for our pain – and it can lead us to wonderful discoveries if we’ll let it.
Here’s how to make the most of pain:
Focus on self-compassion – Our first instinct is to come down hard on ourselves for not doing something right. We assume that we could have avoided most problems if we’d just been smarter, stronger or more prepared. This sort of thinking places blame on your already burdened shoulders and doesn’t serve you in any way. In times of adversity you need to rally your forces – find your inner strength and move on in top fashion – not degrade yourself with what ifs. Treat yourself as you would a child – be forgiving and offer helpful advice.
Don’t give in to unhealthy patterns – Our minds are trained to respond to trouble in familiar ways, but if those old learned responses are hurting you then consciously decide to choose a different reaction. Science has shown that we can even reshape the pathways in the brain by making such changes. Be proactive, rather than reactive, and you can consciously carve out the life you desire!
Don’t lose the lesson – There are no real mistakes if you can just learn the lesson that was provided. Always ask yourself, what is this situation trying to teach me, or what can I learn from it? When we can see the bigger picture we’re much less likely to have to follow that same path again.
Keep forward momentum – No matter what happens, just keep moving forward. Hiding away in a shell never gets you anywhere. It’s better to make mistakes and learn the lessons that they bring then to halt your growth all together because you’re unsure of what to do next.
When you can look at your life as series of events designed to bring you greater personal growth, you can begin to find clues toward your own unique life purpose. Wrong turns often give us the best indicators of exactly where we need to go next. With the right outlook, life once again becomes the adventure it was when we were young. Who doesn’t love a great mystery? Life is a puzzle and these are the pieces that will eventually reveal the whole picture. Exciting isn’t it?
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Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.