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There is No Pain Free Life

Linda: There is no option available for a pain-free life. We do have the option to have our suffering be meaningful or meaningless. While that might not seem like such a great choice, it can mean the difference between existing and living or even life or death. Meaningful suffering is that which results in some kind of redemption. It is a suffering that leads to something of value, such as a deeper understanding, greater compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, and reconciliation.

Transforming ordinary suffering into meaningful suffering requires the willingness to feel our experience fully without resistance to penetrate its depths. In so doing we may encounter feelings of fear, shame, remorse, and grief. But we also begin to learn valuable lessons embedded in our situation. We become stronger and more resilient as we face ourselves directly. It is not by avoiding adversity that resilience is developed. But by gradually exposing ourselves to higher degrees of personal challenge, our capacity to withstand stress grows.

Part of the way we transform ordinary suffering into meaningful suffering is that we resolve to live in a way that the pain that we experience is not in vain. As we develop greater resilience, we become more productive, strategic about how we use our time and energy, more inclined to have a generally positive world view, and are more present in our lives.

When we deny our feelings, we cut off access to our strengths. This process isn’t limited to acknowledging these feelings only to ourselves, because that is often not enough. It’s not until we express our feelings to others who can hold them with us without condemnation, that we affirm our sense of self-worth. In the process of disclosure, we feel less shame, and therefore are more willing to authentically engage in our lives.

By honoring our emotions, we become more open, relaxed, and clear about our next steps. Being willing to admit the part of ourselves that feels like a victim, that doesn’t see any redeeming value in the situation, and wishes that we could be anywhere else but here, is only a step along the way, but an important first step. It is only after allowing the raw feelings to be felt that we can move ahead. If we stay in this stage, blaming, being a victim, and not asking for help, our development will be aborted.

The next step is to take time in a quiet place, where we can be less distracted, to take a deeper look. By journaling, we can put on paper whatever thoughts and emotions are present for us without censoring any of it. When communicating with another person who can receive our experience without judgment, we feel supported to express our feelings. We not only develop more clarity regarding the nature of our experience, but we also establish an equilibrium that was disturbed.

As we do the work necessary to free us from negative mind states that prevent us from seeing clearly, old thought patterns that were activated when we are under stress begin to crumble away. The payoff for going against the conditioning that keeps us stuck in meaningless suffering is a sense of integrity, freedom, and power. We then draw on our natural strengths that enable us to more effectively deal with adversity. When we do this, we become more confident in our ability to meet life’s challenges because we are accessing a more complete range of our capacities.

As we move through the cycle of recovery, we stop blaming and holding ourselves as a victim. We can reach out to ask for help, get vulnerable, stop holding grudges, forgive, and let go. This is the point when we begin to move into the opportunity that is positioned right alongside the pain. We move ahead and tap into the healthy part of ourselves, shifting to a more optimistic point of view. That’s the recognition of the meaning in the suffering, which sets us free from the heaviness of the pain. We finally gain our most important life lessons that are well worth the price of the struggle.

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There is No Pain Free Life


Bloomwork

Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at: www.Bloomwork.com


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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2020). There is No Pain Free Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 5, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationship-skills/2020/03/there-is-no-pain-free-life/

 

Last updated: 1 Jul 2020
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.