Pain is the root of happiness.
Pain and suffering is the key to all windows, without it, there is no way of life.” -Angelina Joile
The young boy opened his hands for the doctor, revealing the burns his mother insisted were a result of picking up hot coals. Shaking his head, the doctor thought, “There’s no way any human would voluntarily hold a burning coal long enough to give third-degree burns like this.” The black, oozing sores had to be a result of child abuse, but the woman shakes her head, “No, we call him Sin Dolor- the painless one.”
The child is soon put on display by his parents, to earn money for his poverty-stricken family. Crowds of people come to see the seemingly inhuman child cut, burn, and maime himself, without so much as flinching.
The boy’s life ends painlessly as he jumps off a three story building to satiate the cries of his avid fans, who saw him as invincible.
“I have no friends, not a single one.” The boy once stated to his doctor. “And the boys all over the district, in the smallest towns, they try to imitate me. But what they’ll never understand, what you don’t understand, is that I do hurt, I do feel it, I do.” He places his hand on his heart. “Here,” he says. “Here’s where I hurt.”
The above story, paraphrased from TC Boyle’s Sin Dolor, effectively states the fact that a certain amount of pain is vital for human happiness. The rare genetic variation that the child had in the story is something many people today would probably be glad to be afflicted with.
As a human species, we avoid pain at all costs. The absence of pain, physically and emotionally, is something we’re constantly searching for. But, in the pursuit of the preservation of life and happiness, we may have brought even more death and pain into the world.
Our absolute avoidance of pain is getting in the way of leading a happy, successful life. Because of our low tolerance of pain and our eagerness to eradicate suffering we do everything, including drugs, to distract ourselves from admitting that existence is suffering. More than 70,000 people died of drug overdose in 2017.
By now you’re probably wondering why I’m trying to depress you with all this. I promise that’s not the reason I’m writing this. I’m writing this because I believe our low tolerance for pain is becoming a problem today. I’m writing this so we can come to the realization that the overused cliché, “No pain, No gain” is actually true. I’m writing this to show that pain actually brings clarity to the difficult questions of life, that pain keeps us from shortsighted thinking, and moves us toward contemplating the important things in life.
Why should you and I be accepting of pain?
Without pain you wouldn’t know what actual happiness is. In order to truly appreciate something we have to experience the opposite end of the spectrum. Studies have also shown that when pain goes away you experience increased happiness, far above and beyond the level you would’ve felt, had you not experienced pain.
The most life altering moments in my life have involved an immense amount of pain. They were in no way exciting or fun to go through, but it’s in those moments of pain that I’m forced to critically evaluate who I am and in what areas I need to change or reassess where I’m headed.
If I never experienced pain such as heartbreak, loss, or betrayl, I would never change. Only when we feel broken through pain do we search for the pieces to rebuild the person we aspire to be.
Pain helps us realize we shouldn’t take this life we have for granted. It’s easy to complain about our lot in life, but when we’re blindsided by pain, when we unexpectedly lose a loved one, the realization that life is fleeting hits us and we come to appreciate what we do have.
I’m not telling you to run to pain. You shouldn’t be grinning at the next funeral you go to or jumping for joy the next time someone hurts you.
The path of life is littered with many boulders of pain, but in the situations where you feel ripped apart,realize that pain doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Choose to take the positive aspects away from the moment.
Pain is the reason strength is important. Pain can be the reason you rise even stronger than before.