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Pain Can Be a Great Teacher

May 29, 2012

I found myself in the midst of “one of those days” not too long ago. You know those days, where frustrations mount and you just want to melt into one of those Calgon commercials to “take you away”. I felt burned out and exhausted.

Just as I started to think my last refuge would be tearing my hair out, I remembered something I’d heard previously in a class: pain is often a sign that something doesn’t fit. So when you feel it, look at what isn’t working, and work to change it. I realized that I’d been trying to control a lot of things during the day, and my inability to do so was what was frustrating me. So I decided to let things take their course instead of forcing them. As a result, the succeeding days were much less frustrating.

Pain can be a great teacher. It is a sign that something isn’t working. Sometimes what isn’t working is your own attitude or behavior. Sometimes it’s other things that aren’t working, such as:

* a relationship that no longer serves you or the other person,

* a job that no longer challenges you,

* a living situation that’s no longer what you need, or

* a lifestyle that’s no longer healthy.

Choosing to view pain as a signal that there’s something to learn can be very helpful to achieve balance in our busy lives. Of course, in the moment, that’s not an easy thing to remember. But the next time you’re feeling frustrated, try these two steps to turn it around:

Step 1: Get it out.

The energy of frustration or pain is powerful and can be intense, so you need to work it out before you can get to a place where you can learn from it. So get it out. Take a walk, vent to a trusted friend or family member, write, hit a pillow, do activities to help you feel more centered—whatever works for you that’s within the boundaries of the law. You’ll find yourself calmer and more able to think straight, which will help you not act rashly in the moment and also naturally help step 2 (below) go smoother.

Step 2: Reframe and act.

Choose to look at the situation in a different light now and ask yourself

* What’s my frustration trying to tell me is not working here?

* Do I need to leave the situation temporarily so I can get a clearer view of it?

* What’s within my power to influence or change so the situation will work?

Asking these things help empower you to move forward rather than being stuck in frustration or pain.  Identify what’s not working and then decide to influence it, change yourself, or remove yourself from it entirely.

Pain really can be an amazing teacher when we take the time to see what it’s trying to show us. Try these two steps to learn from it the next time you’re feeling stressed, and let us know if it helped by leaving a comment.

love & light,


One Comment leave one →
  1. June 11, 2012 10:31 pm

    oh Jennafer, I SO needed this right now! the last couple of weeks have just been “weird and icky” and I just don’t like it! Thanks so much…hugs, Katrina

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