Over the past eight years, I’ve developed an interesting, albeit strange relationship with pain. An awareness that has led me to believe pain isn’t all bad.
Pain is personal. Intimate, in fact. But it is also universal and as universal as the experience of pain may be, there is an elusive truth that demands consideration. The fact there are essentially two kinds of pain.
Good pain. And bad pain.
Bad pain is forced upon you. Left at your doorstep. It is pain you didn’t ask for. The pain you don’t want and have little or no control over. Pain associated with illness or injury. It is debilitating and distracting. A dark forest of dread and distress. It is an obstacle to be overcome. A battle to be joined. An enemy to be overcome.
Everyone I know has experienced bad pain at one time or another.
Good pain is different. Yet, in many ways much the same. Good pain is sought after or self-inflicted. It is the pain of extreme effort. The soreness associated with working out, competition, and recovery. The effort required to regain physical strength and stamina lost to illness or age. Or the pain encountered on the way to a better, healthier present. A more promising future. It could be the pain of exhaustion accompanying a heroic quest.
Pain is good when it does what it has done for millennia. What it was designed to do and that is alert us when something is wrong. Something that needs immediate attention or repair.
Recognizing there are two different kinds of pain is a critical skill. Learning to differentiate between the two can help you face either with resolve, understanding, and grace. With the courage to persevere regardless of the discomfort.Bad PainGood Paintwo kinds of pain