The Gift of Pain
By Rebecca Holt
By Rebecca Holt
Have you ever done something physically challenging? For some of us it may have been a hard day of yard work, for others it may have been an intense work out or even an incredible human feat. For me, this brings up one of my passions – hiking. I love being out in nature, surrounded by the beauty of the earth and the calm of solitude. When I was seventeen years old, I had the opportunity to summit a mountain in Colorado. That was the moment I knew hiking was something I would be doing for the rest of my life. I spent five long days camping and hiking my way up to the peak of a great Rocky Mountain.
Reflecting on the trek twenty years later, I have some memory of the pain I endured along the way. I had blisters on my feet. At times the weight of my pack was so heavy, and the trail seemed vertical I didn’t know how I could continue. However, those physical memories of pain are a very small part of the story. The memories I can recall most are the gifts of that physical pain -the indescribable beauty I saw the reward of standing on the peak of a mountain and accomplishing something I never knew was possible.
Now, have you ever done something emotionally challenging? Maybe you set a boundary or engaged in therapy to resolve painful memories from the past. We tend to avoid emotional pain. We often use distractions to avoid feeling emotional or physical pain. As challenging as it is, when we allow ourselves to experience emotional pain in a healthy, safe way there is a reward. Pain is not a “bad” feeling – sure it can be uncomfortable – but it necessary to heal emotional wounds. When you encounter whatever literal or metaphorical mountain that comes your way, remember the gifts of pain. It is through healthy expression of pain that we can experience healing, growth, and awareness. You can do hard things and find yourself reflecting on the gifts of that pain.