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The Purpose of Pain

Let’s talk about pain. That’s fun, right?

There are two types of pain - emotional and physical. Emotional pain comes from our thoughts. It begins in the brain and travels to the body. It’s completely within our control. Some of it is cleansing, but a lot of it is unnecessary.

Then there’s physical pain, a sensation that begins in the body, then travels to the brain. It’s a different animal.

I’m 36 weeks pregnant, and last week I was in the ER with extreme gallbladder pain. Today was a painful one and then I started having contractions…..!? My husband is out of town and I was watching kids all day. I didn’t get much rest.

Part of me wanted to believe that physical pain could only ever be a bad experience. But, like any and every circumstance, it really is neutral. It is only good or bad or any other descriptive word, if I choose to think of it that way.

So first, I can own that I chose to have another child and endure the pains of pregnancy and childbirth (which I was well aware of after having two other babies). I decided it was totally worth the sacrifice!

And there are other times when I have chosen pain - primarily during exercise. It actually feels good when I know I’m doing something beneficial to my body. I’m proud when I feel sore from a good workout.

What about pain that is outside of my control? That I really don’t choose?

If there were a pain-killer that could permanently eliminate all physical pain from your life, would you take it? I never would. Because pain serves a purpose. It alerts me to something happening inside my body that I want to be aware of and therefore be able to address. It allows me to evaluate where I’m at, what’s working, what isn’t working, and even the location or source of the pain, which helps me treat it.

Sometimes a crisis is what we need to help us take action.

I might have sat around all day today. But when I started having contractions and thought maybe my baby would come early… I cleaned the whole house. I put laundry away, did dishes, and prepared for a trip to the hospital! I didn’t end up going, but now I’m glad I can go to bed with a clean house.

Beneficial decisions are often made in moments of crisis. I remember getting sick earlier this year. My neighbor brought me a bowl of soup and I hadn’t even returned her bowl before I was sick in bed again! When I’m healthy, I immediately forget how it feels to be sick. It was only in the moment of pain that I decided to try something different and make a change.

So I purchased Juice Plus+ capsules, which my same neighbor had been taking for 18 years without getting sick once during that time. Now I’ve been taking them and haven’t gotten sick again either. Incredible. I had no idea what I was missing. It was worth the pain of being sick for a day to help me make that decision.

What pain are you going through - physical or otherwise? How can you make it worth it? What can you learn from or decide to do/change because of it? If you don’t change anything, it’ll just come back again. Your results will never change unless you do.

Moral of the Story: Don’t let your pain be in vain!


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