Gain from pain

We find that medical science is engaged in a constant search for newer and more effective ways of alleviating pain. Corporal punishment in schools is banned and teachers have been urged to adopt play-way methods of teaching. Can we conclude therefore that pain is a reprehensible thing that must be avoided at all costs? The answer surprisingly is ‘no,’ for, pain has its uses.

Imagine an existence without physical pain. You may lean over a burning stove, set your clothes alight and ignore it until a part of your body was charred out of recognition.

Or you could fall, break a bone and not know about until it was beyond repair. Pain, as can be seen, is a warning system devised by Nature to provide protection from greater and continuing harm. It is a signal to us to take remedial steps when we have hurt ourselves. As well as this, it tells you what not to do.

For instance, pain, registered in the brain even before you are aware of it, makes you pull your hand away from a very hot object. Often enough, it is the first sign of a disease that, treated at once, can be halted successfully. It is clear therefore that without this marvellous alarm system, life would be much more unpleasant and difficult.

What is true for our physical health is true for our emotional and mental well-being too. When somebody upsets us and causes emotional distress, it is time to ask ourselves what led to this.

It is perhaps a message that we need to reassess and revise our relationship. It could be that we have to show more concern and understanding or, on the contrary, use more discretion.

Perhaps we need to exercise more detachment, have less expectation and teach ourselves to accept people as they are. Pain is a reminder too that one should not let others undermine one’s self-esteem.

Mental pain - more correctly termed ‘mental suffering’- can arise from betrayal, financial loss and death of loved ones. The distress caused can be so intense as to make one feel it is ceaseless and unendurable. This is normal and human. But if you school yourself to face the situation, gathering strength and hope from those who reach out to you, you may well discover that there is life after tragedy, that you can live without many of the things that you were so attached to.

If we can learn to look upon such events as learning experiences, life will be much less painful. Put simply, pain need not be the end of joy; it can instead be turned into the beginning of understanding. 

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