The Four Benefits of Pain
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” ~Khalil Gibran
When was the last time you experienced pain? What did you do about it?
I suffered from severe pain related to a bad tooth for more than three days. Earlier today, the 3-part procedure to treat my toothache finally started. Part one involves a root canal treatment; part two requires building a crown to protect the partial decayed tooth; part three has to do with treating my gum disease. I expect the procedures to complete in two to three weeks with multiple visits to different specialists.
Pain is our body’s signal to alert us that something is wrong. It needs our attention.
In my case, the inflammation in my tooth needs work. The work of repairing the decayed tooth costs me downtime from work, long hours on the dentist chair and dental bills in the thousands.
Are there benefits from pain?
I am not saying to look for pain because of the inherent benefits. But knowing that pain in life is inevitable, at least four benefits came to mind:
- Pain Prompts Actions
- Pain Promotes Change
- Pain Raises Empathy
- Pain Motivates Self-Care
Pain Prompts Actions
Pain gets our attention real quick. Pain urges me to take action. In my case, the pain alerts me to do something about my decayed tooth. If I don’t deal with it, the inflammation will worsen. In some severe cases, oral infection can be fatal if the infection spreads to the brain.
Pain Promotes Change
Pain drives me to seek changes. I love eating peanuts, especially when I am reading. Just like eating potato chips, it’s hard to stop. Chewing on a bag of shelled peanuts causes a lot of wear and tear on my teeth. Knowing my teeth are not in good condition, I have been thinking about quitting the habit of eating peanuts every week. Now, I really need to change and I will. My Dietician daughter promised to make me fresh peanut butter using her new electric mixer. Yummy!
Pain Raises Empathy
Pain helps me to empathize with others who are hurting. I am mere human who are subject to pain, suffering and even death. As a counsellor, many clients come to see me because they have pain: chronic physical pain, emotional pain, or stress-induced ailments. Pain hurts. Next time when I’m with someone who are hurting because of long-term illness, chronic pain, emotional anguish, etc., I can relate to their pain because I’ve been there. My recent agony connects me with other human beings who are in pain.
Pain Motivates Self-Care
Pain reminds me to take better care of myself. Pain humbles me to accept my limitations and mortality. Nature has endowed me with gifts, health, relationships, and resources. My responsibility is to take care of my body, belongings, and resources, and to nurture my relationships by treasuring the people around me.
Pain and Gain
I hope you are living free from pain now.
However, if you are suffering from pain, take action, seek help, and have faith that you will find the appropriate remedy. The pain can be physical, emotional or spiritual. Through enduring and seeking healing from your pain, you will gain deeper perspectives of life that leads to understanding.