I do not like feeling afraid, sad or hurt. I go out of my way to avoid these feelings, as though with enough discipline I will escape the experience of negative emotions.
So far, in my 42 years, I have not been successful at avoiding pain – But not for lack of effort.
I have been successful at avoiding situations that I feel may cause me pain. The question I am left asking myself is, did I avoid pain or avoid facing my fear? And, in avoiding facing my fear, did I avoid what I want in my life?
We attempt to avoid pain and cling to pleasure. Both are fleeting and cannot be avoided. Yet, in our efforts to avoid pain we lose out on opportunities for the happiness that we so desperately want.
The pain of heartbreak. The pain of failure. The pain of losing something we care about can be avoided if we do not take risks. Except, life is a risk. Even with attempts at avoiding experiences that are scary, we can never get through life without some pain.
What if the pain were growth. Growing can hurt, but it is also a sign we are on a path. My son gets growing pains in his body. Literally is in pain from growing, but they do not last. Our moments of growth are painful, but that only means we are moving. We are growing and so we are evolving. Evolution is fundamental to our life’s journey. That is why we are here.
When we are in pain and we face our fears and move through them we place ourselves in a space to grow. Yes, there may be some pain, but there will also be pleasure when we get to the other side and experience growth.
Pain and pleasure are unavoidable and fleeting. We will not always be in pain and we will not be able to hold on to pleasure. They are like the seasons of the year. Let them move through gracefully.