Bounce Back To A Better You: 7 Ways To Use Your Pain As Motivational Strength

by Elizabeth Swaney

You are a compilation of your past experiences.

There have been amazing times, awful times and lots of things in between. We try to have positive moments all the time, but it doesn’t always happen that way. We often define broken hearts, crushed dreams and other obstacles as setbacks and nothing more.

In reality, though, these so-called challenges actually help us reconsider our current life path, and if we let them, may help us make life changes for the better.

But what about those tough, gut-wrenching situations you that you find little or no joy in? The fact that you’re here, reading this sentence, means you’ve survived and that is something to be celebrated.

You've probably heard that time heals all wounds. In your experience, has this always been true? Even if it has, what do you do until that time finally comes?

We cannot just wait and hope for things to get better. If we want to move forward with our lives, we need to at least try to make progress. How do we get out of that slump, though, when we lose out on our dream job in the last round of interviews? Or if we go through a breakup?

They key is to examine yourself, look at the world around you and power forward:

1. Acknowledge your new self.

You may have defined yourself as one way in the past, but now that you’ve gone through a certain setback, you likely see yourself in a different light. Don’t be afraid to recognize your feelings. Pay attention to how they affect you throughout the day.

You may not realize it, but just like lifting weights at the gym, both your physical body and your soul are becoming stronger by carrying this burden.

The first time you lift a heavy weight, it's pretty miserable, but five gym visits later, the original weight is now a lot easier to carry. Hopefully you won’t have to go through the pain again, but if you do, you’re now more prepared.

2. Take care of something.

Whether it's your friend, your cousin, pet or even a plant, try to help out some type of living being. Even just a slight increase in responsibility can give additional value to your life and give comfort to others around you, as well.

Take care of a dog that is super happy to see you each day, water a plant that needs you to survive or volunteer at a shelter.

If you’re not sure where to begin, start by giving a little extra attention to those around you. If he or she is going through a difficult time him or herself, hear this person out and try to offer support. Anticipate his or her needs and show that you care.

3. Remember that misery loves company.

Knowing that someone else has gone through a similar experience to our own can help benefit both people involved. Often we may feel like we’re alone while dealing with an issue, but when we come across another person who has gone through something comparable, we suddenly open up.

This conversation helps us (and usually said person) feel at least a little better. Talk to your coworkers, friends or classmates about your issue and they may tell you of someone they know who's in a similar state. Or, join a support group and make friends there.

Once you finally connect with someone, allow him or her to help you. Make sure to return the favor to someone else in the future.

4. Get creative.

So your pain has transformed you in some ways, but how exactly? Do you see the world differently, or even see yourself differently?

How can you relate to the world in a way you’ll be understood? Evolve yourself into the person you want to be. If you’re still set on a goal that didn’t work out the first time, try to find another way to achieve that goal.

5. Find an open door.

Another saying you may have heard is that when one door closes, another opens. Ask yourself if any new opportunities have opened up since your setback.

Does the extra time you have not focusing on your original goal give you more time to pursue something else? You may not find any fully open doors, but maybe just a crack in a door that you can then open later, once you have more confidence or expertise in a certain area.

6. See the good in others.

This may be difficult, especially if you’ve been let down, abandoned or rejected by people in the past. But I believe that everyone has something good, usually something great at his or her core, even if it is covered by something that seems questionable.

With anyone you find to be particularly challenging to deal with, focus on one good part of his or her character, or one good thing you have seen this person do. If you truly have not seen anything good, then hope and trust that there's something good to come.

7. See the good in yourself.

Own who you are; be proud of what you have overcome and be excited for what’s ahead. Know that you are strong and others will surely see your strength too.

Tell yourself three things each day that you like about yourself and focus on these good qualities. Carry these positive thoughts with you throughout your day.

Inspire yourself to achieve more than you thought possible, and you will be an inspiration to others, maybe without realizing it.

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