(This is the first installment of a series called “The Happy Life” in which I will explore what I believe to be some important elements to living the happiest life.)
…and so, of course, we start with pain.
Pain hurts. Brilliant, right? Today I argue in favor of pain.
Now pain comes in many flavors and I’m not arguing in favor of the life-threatening variety. I’m arguing in favor of the kind that toughens you up….and in order for that to happen this pain has to challenge you, to create a little doubt about your ability to withstand it.
Pain is a test. If you survive it with dignity you are rewarded with confidence and perspective.
I’ve heard professional athletes describe the brutal training that they endure as painful. Some of them have said that they learn in their athletic careers the value of becoming more comfortable with pain….which in turn allows them to become more comfortable with the habits, both physically and nutritionally, that allow them to optimize their athleticism.
And really, isn’t discomfort the thing that keeps most people from exercising? Or taking risks in their professional life? Or taking a chance on a personal relationship?
No pain, no gain. No risk it, no biscuit. No chance it, no…uh, okay I’ve got nothing to rhyme with “chance it” but you get the picture.
I used to manage an old building with very leaky galvanized pipes. It leaked like a Hollywood publicist!
My head of maintenance taught me that a properly repaired pipe or joint is far less likely to leak at the site of the repair than in some other spot. The leak site (source of the pain) once repaired is STRONGER than the original site of the leak and the rest of the original pipe.
I think what is true of pipes is true of people.
Physical pain, some professional pain, as well as painful matters of the heart, can leave you stronger than before. And isn’t that really one of the primary goals of a Happy Life? Pain has value.
Have you experienced a productive level of pain in your life? Did you understand it to be productive at the moment of your greatest discomfort?
And does the pain you are feeling RIGHT NOW have a chance at moving you forward toward a stronger, and therefore happier, life? I hope so….
Hurts so good….
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