Ouch!  Learning How to Accept the Inevitability of Pain to Reach Your Full Potential

Ouch! Learning How to Accept the Inevitability of Pain to Reach Your Full Potential


I’m not a masochist.  This is not an endorsement to proactively look to hurt yourself just for sport.  This article is about the recognition and acceptance of pain in the life of the average human being, and how to utilize it as an ally instead of seeing it as an insidious monster that should be avoided at all costs.

Second disclaimer:

I use the words pain and discomfort interchangeably in this article.  I know they’re not the exact same entities, but they’re in the same vein of biological and emotional reaction.

Anywho, let’s get to it...

Have you ever heard of congenital insensitivity to pain?  People with this specific condition can’t feel any physical pain at all.  None.  Zip.  Zilch.  And I know your initial thought might be ‘wow, that sounds great!’  But it’s actually not a good thing because they don’t have the recognition that something is wrong or dangerous through pain sensitivity.  They’re more prone to accidents, injuries, and even accidental self-mutilation because of the absence of physical pain in their life to guide them.    

Ok, wait…

I’m getting ahead of myself. 

(deep breath) 

Let’s start at the beginning.  Do you remember one of your first encounters with physical pain?  Falling as a kid and bumping your head?  A sibling giving you a good smack upside the noggin?  Trying to touch fire?  Whatever it may be, what was your reaction?  You most likely cried, or started writhing in pain, or artfully executed a super-embarrassing combination of both.  I’m not judging, brother or sister.  I’m empathizing.  

For most of my life I lived in fear of pain or discomfort.  It wasn’t a phobia or even a conscious decision.  Like many people, my understanding of pain was subconsciously learned to be something to avoid at all costs, and if I did run into it, I wanted it out of my life as soon as humanly possible.  I ran to that cave in my head to escape its clutches, because I erroneously thought that it was a pariah…a plague….an enemy.  I was wrong.

The old saying goes “The only guarantees in life are death and taxes.”  But this is a flawed perception of life.  My revised version is “The only guarantees in life are pain, death and taxes.”  

Think about it.  How do most people enter this world?  

Crying like a baby. (Get it?)  We’re introduced to our existence by an all-out sensory overload.  

Discomfort personified.  

From that day on we’re molded by our instinct to avoid pain.  It’s a reflex, really.  A natural order of things that most people don’t think about because pain and discomfort are bad.  Period.

Ok, I get that.  I mean, that’s how I lived my life for a very long time.  But here’s the problem, and I hope I’m not bursting any bubbles, PAIN IS AN INEVITABLE PART OF LIFE.  You’re going to encounter it.  So, with that in mind, what is the best way to deal with it?  By shunning it?  By ignoring it in hopes that you’ll never cross paths?  

I think you know my answer.  NO!  This is not a good and healthy way to live your life, because when you do inevitably find yourself hurting for one reason or another, you won’t be mentally or physically prepared to weather the storm.      

Now, like I said at the beginning, I am not advocating self-harm.  This is not a plea to go out there and start hurting yourself to try to prove how tough you are.  I’m trying to help bring an understanding to what pain is and its true role in our life so that we can all start living with less fear of it.  

Start to change your perception around pain and discomfort to realize that it is not always a bad thing and in many cases, it is necessary for our survival.  This acceptance can go a long way towards understanding its role, and learning how to manage it as best you can.  Then once you make this realization, your fear will start to dissipate.  And ultimately, this control of your emotions is where the true benefit starts to blossom. 


You’ll find that you have better control of yourself altogether which translates to growth in all aspects of your life.    

This is easier said than done.  The modern-day lifestyle is designed to make everything as easy as possible.  We want the quickest, simplest solution to any problem.  And while I am a proponent of doing things smarter not harder, I also know that there are times when it is better to take the more difficult path because it leads to personal growth and understanding.  Comfort zones are human killers.  Taking yourself outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis is key to strengthening your resolve and growing into your full potential.  

So, the next time you stub your toe, don’t run to that cave in your head.  Realize you’re feeling that pain because you’re alive and healthy.  Breathe your way through it and you will come out stronger on the other side.  See you there!

Get Fit!


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