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How can I find meaning in my pain?

Arianna Huffington
Health Education
When we enter life's labyrinth, pain enters with us. Therefore, the question isn't whether we can avoid pain in life -- we can't -- but what we can do with it. How do we bear up when we are broken down? Where do we turn when it feels as if we have nowhere left to go? What do we hold on to when we are set adrift? And above all, how do we find meaning in our pain?

When, in our pain, we turn our attention to life's purpose, we take up pain as a thread through the labyrinth. Unlike the other threads, this one we do not choose; it is thrust upon us. But if we cannot choose whether or not to pick up this thread, we can choose what to do with it when it's handed to us. We can run from pain, denying its reality, or we can choose to evolve through it.

When our hearts break or our lives seem useless, some of us deny the pain, deaden it with drugs, sedate it with alcohol, or lose ourselves in busywork or shallow relationships. We look for a way to build a wall between our day-to-day lives and the night-by-night anxiety that consumes us. But when we deny pain, we are denying life itself. When we flee from pain that we cannot escape, we are fleeing from an opportunity to grow.

Holding on to pain, although it may drag us to our knees, is an act of courage and of trust. We have all heard the clichés about what life is not: a bed of roses, a bowl of cherries, a barrel of laughs. Parents die. Marriages crumble. Children get sick. In these moments, false idols topple. But in the empty places where they once stood we may, if we look, find the grace of God. In these empty places there are no distractions, no excuses; indeed, there is nowhere left to hide.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.