Experience Is What You Get When You Don't Get What You Want: How To Grow From Pain

by Lauren Martin

Frida Kahlo said, "at the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can." I think that pretty much sums up human existence. It's a journey of painful experiences and shattering illusions that hardens us into intelligent and mature adults.

Because that's life, isn't it? Just trying to get through the day, taking blow after blow just to pick ourselves up again without knowing what other troubles lie ahead. Life is a series of challenges that only prepares us for more to come.

As we get older, we become accustomed to the idea of pain. People hold back from relationships for fear of getting hurt, or feeling that deep emotional pain that comes with a broken heart.

They shy away from new experiences for fear of failure. However, pain is something we started experiencing and learning from a very early age. From the physical ache of an open wound, to the deep emotional cuts of death, we have been healing and reopening the scars since we were old enough to understand suffering.

“The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.” -Bertrand Russell

Pain stays with us. It has a way of embedding itself deep in our subconscious. It's that recollection of pain that makes it difficult to repeat past failures or experiences. Because sometimes the scars can take a long time to fully heal. Recovery is supposed to hurt. It is supposed to be incredibly painful. To heal, we need to channel this pain and express it in healthier ways. The important thing is not to give up.

You must learn from the pain, grow from it. While others come away from suffering with thicker skin and a wider knowledge of who they are, many let pain defeat them. Those people are the ones broken by life. They don't know how to recover from the pain, let alone let it make them stronger. You must choose what kind of person you are going to be, the kind that learns from pain or the ones who shies away from it.

It's only those people who learn from their pain who do anything great. It's the people who let pain become not just a learning tool, but a way to express themselves. Because pain is beautiful, it lets us know we are alive. Pain is what builds the greatest artists. It's what unites people and brings about change. It's what makes us feel alive at the very depths of our core.

"The only people I would care to be with now are artists and people who have suffered: those who know what beauty is, and those who know what sorrow is. Nobody else interests me. -Oscar Wilde

There is nothing more intoxicating than meeting someone who has been through a lot and is not only a better person, but a stronger person. They are an example of those who learned to grow from pain. They suffered just like the rest of us, but understood how to use that pain. They don't assume they will never fail again, but they aren't scared of the pain of that failure, and that's what makes them strong.

Pain comes in many forms. There is a different type of pain for every different experience that you  must learn to grow from and understand. Every experience has the potential to become a painful one, most likely always ending in sorrow. Because that's life, no matter how great you are and how long you've lived, it could end any second.

The Pain Of A Broken Heart

The pain of a broken heart can be the hardest to recover from. There is something very intimate about the loss of a lover. It is a pain that stays with you the longest and never fully heals. People become destroyed by love, intoxicated by it then completely and utterly consumed wholly. Love changes people and has the ability to shatter everything we ever knew about life.

But it's that aching that makes us want to find love so bad, isn't it? It's the feeling deep down in our souls that lets us know we are alive and these emotions are real. Because we never feel so alive than when we are in love. And the pain of a broken heart is worse than any physical wound.

“I was a strong lad and survived; but the poison was in the wound and the wound remained forever open." -Vladimir Nabokov, "Lolita"

But you must learn to grow from the pain, not let it harden you into one of those cold people who are bitter and resentful. Take the pain you feel and turn it into love for the next person.

The Pain of Failure

Failure is a painful truth and will happen over and over again. Anyone who has ever done anything worthwhile failed before they got there. It's impossible to live life without failure of some sort. But failure is the groundwork to success. Only those who learned from their failures ever did anything great.

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” Louis E. Boone

The weak are those who let failure keep them down, who fear failure so much that they'd rather not try again. You must chose not to let failure deter you.

The Pain Of The Past

We live our lives trying to move on and forget our mistakes, but they haunt us. Sh*t happens through life and the memories stay with us whether we want them to or not. It's in those sleepless nights when you realize all the painful truths kept in the deepest darkest corners of your mind and you realize how much of the past you wish you could just erase.

The past is painful because it's part of the person you used to be. It's a constant reminder of all your mistakes, regrets and failures. It's everything you wish to move on from, but can't. You must learn to live in the present and not let the past haunt you. Because you will waste your entire life looking back.

"Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, you can either run from it, or learn from it." - "The Lion King"

Don't let your past define your future. Learn from your mistakes and failures, but do not wallow in them. Keep growing, leaving the cast shell of your old self back where you will never go again. Because only once you truly let go of the past can you be free to move on.

The Pain Of Loss

If you were lucky, you didn't experience the deep despair of death at a young age. As we get older, we realize that death is inevitable and we must learn to deal with it as part of life. However, that doesn't make the passing of a loved one any easier. Death can be a very difficult pain to overcome and to move on from.

How people react and overcome the pain of death is different for everyone. The loss of a child is the hardest pain to overcome because it is not natural, not how it's supposed to happen. Many families break up on account of a lost child and can never recover. People lose their spouses, parents, children, sisters, brothers everyday. It's one of the hardest facts of life.

 When a parent dies, you lose your past; when a spouse dies, you lose your present; when a child dies, you lose your future. – Anonymous

Once you accept that death is inevitable and does not necessarily mean loss in the greater sense of the word, you can move on. You must always remember that person and keep the past alive, but do not live in the past, giving up your future.