On Pain

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
Lao Tzu

A lot of things have been bothering me lately, more so than I would like to admit. It’s like I’ve been in the war room as multiple battles rage across all fronts of my life. By itself, each battle is not that much to look at, they’re more like a skirmish between two raccoons over a thrown out piece of pizza 🍕, but when you add them up it's been taking its toll on me.

I won’t bore you with the details (nor give myself the chance to complain about them), suffice it to say, every problem I face today is something that we all face as humans, and someone somewhere in the past has experienced and overcome. (The ones that didn’t overcome their problem are usually lost to failure or obscurity.)

Health, Money, Wisdom, Power, Boldness, Courage, Creativity, Resilience, Resolve, Connection...

And their opposites:

Sickness and Injury, Debt, Foolishness and Ignorance, Weakness, Comfort, Fear, Burnout and Unimaginative, Overwhelm, Indecisive 🤷‍♂️, and Lonely...

Every new experience is unique to me, but it’s not unique to humanity. Look at enough biographies and you start to see patterns of humanity. Experience enough cultures and you start to see how that culture reflects in the people (and the people reinforcing the culture) Bad things happen. Mistakes are made. And unless you’re Patrick Star living under a rock for your entire life, you’ve been through and are going through some difficult moments too.

The boring question is ‘Why me?’ 'Why do I have to feel this way?' 'Why do I have to go through this?' 'Why is this so hard?'

I wonder about the differences between difficulties. Is depression worse than cancer? Is an injury more painful than a broken home, or a loss? Is loneliness worse than apathy? ...

Of course these are impossible comparisons (unless you’ve experienced them all and can tell me). One thing I do know for sure is that pain unites us. Pain is the door to empathy that ties us all together. Our own pain gives us a measurement of what someone else’s pain must feel like. I did not understand what someone goes through when they injury themselves until I injured my neck. Now I know the debilitating pain someone must feel when they hurt their back or knee etc. I don’t know exactly what it feels like, but I can compare their pain to my own and create a connection with them through my experiences.

Why me? doesn’t matter. The real question is what are you going to do about it?

What are you going to do about it?


If there is a why behind the circumstance, its

To rely on something bigger than yourself and your own ego. To trust others or God (or whatever you believe) rather than always carrying the weight of the world by yourself.

To challenge yourself to take the painful lesson and turn it into a chance to improve and become better than you were.

To give you the opportunity to share your story with others and inspire others to overcome their own difficulties.

What are you going to do about it?

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner