Sometimes you have to go through short term pain to learn a lesson you’ve been neglecting (or abusing) to learn.
For me it was a neck injury.
I’ve broken bones, almost bit my tongue in two as a child, rebelled against rules, but nothing has compared to my neck pain.
It’s taught me that I am not invincible and not to fear that. Trying bold things is always a good idea — as long as you aren’t ignoring your gut or potentially risks you’re not covering. Feeling pain makes us human.
It’s taught me to notice the pain of others. I may not have experienced what you’ve gone through, but I can see and empathize with your pain. I see your pain, and can create a connection with you through that.
It’s taught me that no one will care more about your wellbeing and dreams than yourself. It’s not that others WON’T care, its just that they 99.9% of the time, you are going to care more. If you want to heal, you’ve got to push for it. Family, friends, doctors, professionals — they’ll help if you let them, but you are the one who has to initiate and reach for the results.
It’s taught me that pain is a chance to be better, to be more than you were. I’m still not the man I was before my injury. But that doesn’t matter. I’ve learned strength. I’ve learned resilience. I’ve learned how to be calm and how to handle impossible situations.
It’s taught me how to listen. We abuse ourselves so much. We eat anything we want, throw our bodies around as much as we want, lay around in couch-potato mode when we’re off, and butt in chair hunched over a keyboard when we’re on. I’m still learned to give my mind and body what it needs, but first comes listening, and knowing that it needs it.
Pain isn’t required to learn, but it makes a fine teacher.
Going forward, I want to avoid unnecessary pain from lack of forethought and mitigation. There’s no reason to experience hell when you can learn the lessons from predetermined insight, or from others failures.
But when you are in hell, find the lessons, find the opportunity. Find the good — that will be your path out.
— Josh Waggoner