It’s been a tough couple of days friends. Some people that I am close to and that I even admired have been less than stellar in their actions towards me and I even got a case of the blues behind a former girlfriend. Pain, is something that exists in all of us whether we want to admit it or not. But here’s an idea: how do you deal with the pain will greatly determine more about you as a person than you could probably ever imagine.

The poet Khalil Gibran said “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” Beautifully stated but if taken at face value, then some of us should have senses of understanding which are completely without shells. I’ve known friends and family members who have endured immense hardship and extremely terrible instances of loss and trauma in their lives. Their lives seemed to be for the drawing and nurturing of pain. But I also began to reflect on my life and how I dealt with the many instances of pain and loss that I have endured. There has been great growth and learning in so many of those times when I hurt terribly.

What has also amazed me is that I have learned that when certain types of pain, conflict or loss begin to show their ugly heads in my life, I can look carefully and see what’s about to happen and even if the pain is unavoidable, I can do enough to grow and learn from the resulting anguish. But here is where I don’t mean to sound preachy but this point is important friends. I made a conscientious effort to learn from instances of pain. You see there is an old Buddhist saying that states, “Pain is unavoidable but suffering is optional.”

I simply work really hard and choose not to succumb to the truly negative and deeply damaging effects of pain. If a person wrongs me and it hurts emotionally, I can stay angry or I can work on letting the pain go. That doesn’t mean however that the cause of that pain is not address at some point. The other thing I learned from this approach is to discuss or highlight what caused the pain and work on fixing it. So this idea does not equate to taking everything someone does on the chin, so to speak, and just be everyone’s doormat. But I simply chose to find a way to always grow from pain, which can stunt or halt anyone’s development.

So I close with this idea: What’s inside of you may be pain but what you do with it and how you deal with the pain can speak soundly to the type of person you are and what kind of person you will become. Pain is not the only thing that’s inside of you and it should not be the strongest element within you either. Growth, maturity and learning should definitely be prominent within you.

Your life is a gift my friends; share it generously and wisely.