The harsh reality is that at some point throughout our lives we will all experience hardship and pain to some degree. Once we accept that truth, the question then becomes…what do we do with the hardship and pain we face in life? Do we let it consume and control our lives and steal our happiness from us or do we find a better way to manage it? Regardless of whether the pain in your life is physical, mental or both, these three steps will help.
I myself have experienced a great deal of pain in life (both physically and mentally). Every day I fight to manage the chronic pain that fills my life but I also battle with mental pain each and every day as well.
The physical pain is caused by the life-changing injury that ended my military career and the mental pain is caused by loss, trauma and countless other reasons.
Fortunately, over the last few years I have worked very hard to have develop a mindset that helps me manage that pain so that it doesn’t control my life and that’s why I wrote this article. I want to share that mindset with others who might be struggling to manage the pain and hardship in their life.
So here we go, three steps to managing hardship and pain in life:
The first step is the without question, the most important. This is where we make the choice for whether or not we will let the challenges in our lives control us. This sounds like common sense but it’s easier said than done.
I’ve tried to run from the pain in life but it only pushes the hardship further down the road. We can’t just neglect the pain and pretend it doesn’t exist or it will eventually consume us.
You wouldn’t break your leg and just pretend the pain wasn’t there indefinitely, would you? I sure hope not because it wouldn’t fix the problem. It would just become a bigger problem as time went on. The same goes for mental pain. When you experience trauma or hardship in life, you can’t just neglect it, you have to process it to give yourself a chance to heal.
But that means we have to acknowledge two things; the pain is real & that it sucks enough that we want to do something about it. So if you’re willing to acknowledge the pain is real and that you want to address it then move to step number two.
Study your pain and learn to respect it. It’s real, it sucks and it’s not going anywhere unless you do something about it. Anyone who tells you that pain isn’t real is full of $hit. As I mentioned, I fight pain every single day of my life and I promise you, it’s very real.
So what do I mean by “study and respect” the pain?
I mean start to dive into why the pain is there. I mean understanding on a deeper level what causes the pain but also trying to gain a better understanding of the impact it’s had on your life so far. It’s time to start brainstorming ways to beat it.
This is also when it’s vitally important to identify the people best suited to support you and help you face the pain in your life because it’s nearly impossible to do alone. I’ve written two entire books about the people who helped me through the painful parts of my life (available here).
When I first suffered my injury, I had to “study” the pain to find out why it was making my life so hard. I soon realized the physical pain was only part of the struggle and regardless of how hard I worked to manage that pain, there was a mental component I was neglecting.
I was depressed, devastated and angry that my Army career had ended. I felt vulnerable because I relied on other people to help me dress myself or to walk and I hated feeling vulnerable. By studying the pain, I gained a wider perspective that gave me valuable insight into the bigger picture.
Then comes “respecting” the pain. After you have studied it and know what caused it, how it’s impacting your life and all of the small nuances that are making that pain so difficult to manage, you can start taking steps towards moving past it.
That brings us to step #3…
Repurposing the pain in our lives into motivation…
When I finally saw the pain in my life as a source of motivation instead of an obstacle, I became unstoppable. I stopped feeling sorry for myself for facing those difficulties and I began looking forward to waking up every day with another opportunity to get stronger.
I started working out again and really diving into my physical therapy and pain management routines because I was motivated to “beat” the pain. I also started seeing a pain psychologist to help me work through the mental component of life with pain.
My recovery turned into a “me versus you” battle between myself and the pain and I hate losing…
Suddenly the feeling of vulnerability that caused me so much mental pain turned into an opportunity to build better relationships with the people who were helping me (especially with my wife, Kelsey Rose).
Dealing with pain in life isn’t easy but by following these three steps I have not only made the pain in my life manageable but I have found true happiness in life all over again because I control the pain, not the other way around.
Once you decide to accept that the hard parts of your life don’t have to control you either, your life begins to change forever.
Wait! Before you go…
Have you checked out my Youtube channel, A Dad’s Voice, yet? Check out the content here, hit that subscribe button and help me spread some positivity and inspiration with the world.
My father always tells me, “My hope is that you’ll hear my voice in your head long after I’m gone reminding you of everything I’ve taught you.” The truth is, my parents have taught me so much about life and I hear their voices replaying those lessons in my head over and over again every day.
Now as a parent myself, I’m realizing that I want the same for my daughter. For her to grow up hearing my voice teaching her all of the right lessons to guide her through life and for that voice to stick in her head long after I’m gone. In fact, I think most parents probably feel the same way.
But what messages are we using our voice to share? What are we teaching our kids? I created this channel to help spread positive and inspirational messages and lessons about life in a world otherwise full of negativity.
This channel is my way of sharing my voice and my perspective on life with the rest of the world. The same voice, perspective and messages I want my daughter to grow up hearing.
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