“As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.” Psalm 103:15

There’s no avoiding it; pain hurts. Pain reminds us that we once experienced something we do not want to experience again.

While we do not seek out pain, we also can’t hide from it. We live for the beautiful, graceful moments; we live to enjoy relationships and experiences. But we do so with the understanding that pain may be right around the corner, and that when it strikes, we can’t let it define us. Instead, we can learn from the painful experience and what it brings to our lives: mainly, deep resiliency and character.

But how do we get through the pain in a productive way?

Often when we experience a painful situation, we simply withdraw. We cry out in frustration and try to pull away. Just as a child that touches a hot stove, we too recoil, often choosing to distance ourselves from anything that could cause us hurt again. One natural reaction is to prevent similar exposure in the future – never help another person, never give another raise, never again promote someone else’s interests above our own.

Some experiences in our lives are like that hot stove. A situation heats up, we get a little too close, and the pain is inevitable. However, the way in which we dress the wound and handle the pain is our choice. We can wither like grass or we can bloom like a wildflower – it’s up to you. I suggest beginning by trying to answer the simple question, “What can I learn from this situation?”

What I’ve learned through my experience is that pain isn’t forever – eventually the pain itself recedes, and it’s only the lessons that remain. Maybe a loving friend takes your hand and wipes away your tears, or you find your own way through and begin to breathe again. Whatever it is that helps get you there, you ultimately find yourself in a space and time in which the healing can begin. You’ve pushed through the fear (pain), and in its aftermath, you begin to grow strong and anew – experiencing the resiliency that allows you to form an action plan for the next go-around.

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