My husband is a member of a local Rotary club and recently he was asked to write an article for their monthly newsletter. When the newsletter came out and he showed me what he had shared with the club, I immediately knew I had to share it with all of you too! I am so proud of him for being bold and sharing this with his peers because I don’t know anyone who wants to talk about the topic of pain, except for those who take it on as the victim roll, and let it own them. I’m proud of him for confronting our cultural avoidance of pain, and for being honest about the consequences of what that does. I’ll stop chatting now and let you read his article –
Our society, in large part, is trained from an early age to avoid pain.
We start as parents with good intentions – to protect our children, but we have moved far beyond that and created a culture where numbing or avoiding pain is mainstream.
Avoidance of pain is the pursuit of convenience and comfort.
Those who do not conform to this mindset are seen as “odd”, they are counter-cultural.
Why don’t you buy a new, nicer car rather than drive that beater?
Why do you run for hours at a time?
Why are you working two jobs?
Why would you get into the office every morning before daylight?
The majority of our society doesn’t have a grid for people who practice “uncomfortable behaviors”. But, when you take the long view from these questions you see the results of choosing into pain, and choosing out of immediate comfort.
The guy driving the beater car, that he owns outright, is able to save money and accumulate wealth. The person that spends hours running is healthy both physically and mentally. The single mom that is working two jobs is teaching her children what it looks like to work hard and earn their way in life. The business-person that gets to the office before daylight each day grows a successful company that becomes a legacy and supports a growing number of employee families.
We are not taught to pursue and endure pain, we are taught to be victims and to blame others for our circumstances.
If someone else is more successful at something, we attribute their success to luck or privilege rather than to years of hard work. If something is hard or painful, we throw ourselves a pity party and surround ourselves with other victims.
How do we learn to embrace pain? How do we go about adopting the long-view in life? How do we learn to see ourselves accurately?
When something hurts, we need to stay in it long enough to ask the questions: “is this pain good or bad for me in the long run”? and “what will come of me if I endure this pain?”
We need to know the answer to these questions before seeking reprieve. We need to begin pursuing relationship with people that we want to be like. Getting to know people we admire will provide the perspective for us to see how they navigated their journey. Lastly, we need to surround ourselves with peers who empower us rather than enable our victim mentality.
Being uncomfortable is not easy. Walking the painful road is oftentimes lonely.
But it is worth the investment.
No one accomplishes anything great in life by being safe and comfortable or by being a victim.
The future is in the hands of those who have grown broad shoulders to carry pain and doubt, a strong heart that can push past defeat and eyes that are constantly focusing down the road rather than looking behind.
Will you choose a life of comfort or a life of greatness?
Painful experiences do wonders to change your life.” Proverbs 20:30b