Finding the Gifts of Pain Versus Changing Things

Check out the the FB Live video I did on this topic instead of, or in addition to, reading the blog post!

15382603 - high road and low roadI love how regular GPS members are embracing the concept of finding the gifts in painful, stressful situations. The fact is, when we can do that, we can much more quickly change those situations. I’ve had members ask me, though, how to know when to change things versus when to look for the gifts in pain. That’s prompted me to do a blog post on the subtle, but critical nuance.

First, to be clear, this isn’t about glorifying pain!!!! If you can avoid pain, all the better. If you can change the situation that is causing you pain, that’s ideal. If you can’t, then you’ll want to know how to find the gifts in pain, which include the motivation to change things.

One major way to avoid or reduce pain is actually to watch our thoughts. Are you catastrophizing and saying things to yourself like, “This is horrible! I shouldn’t have to put up with this” or perhaps, “I can’t stand this. I’m going to fall apart/blow up/etc.”

In the moment, you often have to just deal with what is. Just shifting your perspective to seeing the painful situation as an opportunity to grow can reduce the pain. Senseless pain is a lot harder to take than pain that you know is driving you to a better place.

So when do we look for the gifts, and when do we look to change the situation? Basically, if you can change the situation right away, go for it! That’s ideal. But if you can’t instantly change the situation, then tucking into the idea that the pain you are in can be a good thing will get you looking at how to utilize it, not fight it and waste energy.

Want to be able to solve the problem?

As soon as you fight pain by telling yourself you shouldn’t be experiencing what you are, or that it’s horrible, etc, you actually shut down your problem solving brain. Conversely, if you are curious about how to use the pain you are in to motivate you to change, then you will be in your higher brain where problems become solvable.

So, you choose: either see pain as your friend and let it help you change things, or fight it and stay stuck.

The concept of the gift of pain is not at all at odds with changing things. It’s a huge ally. Pain is meant to motivate us to seek help. We literally have a hormone in our body, oxytocin, that elevates when we are in pain. It drives us to seek others, which is a powerful way to help us change the things that aren’t working for us. In fact you are probably part of this community because your pain motivated you to seek help at some point.

Thanks to the members who asked this important question! I look forward to reading your comments on this blog post, or the related Facebook Live Video I did.

Click the picture below to watch my Facebook Live Video!

fblive-12-02-16

 

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