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The truth is, there cannot be real growth without pain

By Nina Steele 

None of us like the idea of pain and suffering and frankly why should we? Why shouldn’t we just sail through life only experiencing joy, be surrounded by people who love us and only have our best interest at heart? The idea of going through any kind of pain and suffering is enough to make the majority of us want to run a mile. Yet if we are honest with ourselves, particularly those who have managed to turn adversities into some kind of triumph, we can see clearly that what we are today, we owe it in great part to those very unpleasant events that at the time, we wished we could do away with.

Look around you and you will see that a lot of the people society sees as role models, have had pretty bad episodes in their lives. That they have triumphed shows how a combination of self belief, determination and drive among other things, more often than not, make most people succeed, while others without those qualities, just fall apart.

In my experience, the ones who fall apart are those who fail to see the bigger picture. For them, every challenge is life conspiring against them. I do understand that often, when we are faced with very unpleasant situations, we feel sorry for ourselves and wish we can make the whole thing go away. That is a natural human instinct, however, to remain in that state of mind for too long is not in our interest.

Instead we must summon whatever courage we have within us, to find a way out. That way out may be to accept the situation if we cannot change it or make a stand. Whatever we decide to do, it must ultimately serve as a springboard for more growth. What we cannot do is let events have the better of us and never recover from them. Show me someone who has never struggled in their life and I will show you someone who has never lived. For, by definition, being alive means that pain and suffering are inevitable. To avoid them therefore, one might as well be dead!

Real, long lasting growth, generally happens through pain and the following quote by Martin Luther King sums it up beautifully: ”The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. There you have it! Yes it would be great to have an uneventful life, surrounded by people who tell us exactly what we want to hear, however, we will never reach our full potential. It is as simple as that. To reach our full potential, we must constantly be challenged. Yes some of those challenges can be quite unpleasant, but they are ultimately what will make us.

So next time you complain that life isn’t fair or feel sorry for yourself for being in a predicament, or not having what you want, for example, not being able to conceive or whatever the case may be, remember that you have an opportunity to learn and grow. Whatever you do, do not let yourself become a victim because once you choose to become a victim, it is very difficult to be anything else.

Overcoming fear

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