However long the night, the dawn will break – African Proverb
- In the wake of another relational loss, she found herself cursing God and cursing her ex-fiancé. Through the tears and the pain, she cried: “Lord, I am tired of the heartaches. Why, why, why must I endure all this pain?”
- With tears in her eyes, the widow asked, “ What have I done to deserve this? Why did my husband have to die?”
Perhaps as you read this blog, you too are suffering from a relational loss. Perhaps you too are in pain. The two situations described are very real. One is my personal experience and the other is that of a friend. As long as we live on this earth, at some point all of us will experience heartache through the loss of a relationship or the loss of something loved. When we go through these moments the question of why always seems to come up and while we do not always get answers, I believe we can find a way to cope so that the pain does not cause us to give up on life.
Therefore, since we cannot avoid pain, we must find a way to persevere through pain. We must find a way to make it pay dividends. After all, “Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing but to turn it into glory”- William Barclay. Here now are seven ways to persevere in pain or suffering as taken from my book, Heartache Queen Unshackled.
- Assess it Properly -Inevitable but Temporal
- Find Meaning and Purpose in it
- Develop a Positive Attitude
- Find Models and Examples to Emulate
- Turn to a Higher Power for Help
- Reach for Social Support
- Find Hope for the Future
Assess it Properly – It’s Inevitable but Temporal
Many of us are bewildered by suffering instead of expecting it and seeking ways to cope. Wishing it were otherwise is not helpful and refusing to accept it as part of normal experience is counter- productive. Pain/suffering is not surprising and neither will it last forever. There is a good standing phrase that captures the temporal nature of suffering that has encouraged and strengthened many sufferers: “this too will pass.” In as much as the rain does not fall everyday and winter does not last forever, pain is not interminable. Renowned motivational speaker, Les Brown, says it this way, “whatever you are going through, it has not come to stay, it has come to pass.” This problem will not bother you forever. This too will pass.
Find Meaning and Purpose
Success expert Napoleon Hill says: “There is no such thing as an unprofitable experience. Make every circumstance good or bad, pay dividends. Life is a continuous process of education. Learn from all experiences good or bad. Be on the alert for gains of wisdom.” Depending on the perspective of the sufferer and the meaning attributed to pain, that person will stand or succumb. Those who find purpose in suffering often make it a fruitful experience. What can you learn from this experience? How can it be used to help others?
Develop a Positive Attitude
Closely aligned to meaning and purpose is attitude and response. John Maxwell in his book, The Winning Attitude coined the catch phrase, “Attitude determines altitude.” While we have no control over majority of the things that will result in our suffering or pain, the one thing we have control over is our attitude and response. American business philosopher Jim Rohn in his inimitable style asserts that, “it’s not what happens that determines your life’s future. It is what you do with what happens. All of us are in a little sail boat. It is not the blowing of the wind that determines your destination. It is the set of the sail.”
Determine to become better for it, not bitter by it. One way to do this is to count your blessings and find something for which to be thankful or grateful despite the pain. It is Nick Vuijic, the man born without arms and legs that said, “I’ve never seen a thankful person who is bitter or a bitter person who is thankful.” Nick turned his lemons into lemonade. Although he was born without limbs, today he has a ministry called, “Life Without Limbs.” He is married and has a son. He turned despair into hope. He is making a difference today using the very thing that once brought him pain and suffering.
To succeed in suffering should be our goal. As Frank Sinatra said, “The best revenge is massive success.” I urge you against letting bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness settle in your heart because of pain and suffering. In the long run, these will only prolong and worsen your pain, not relieve it. Our attitude and our response to suffering will determine whether we stand and persevere or succumb.
Friends, that’s where I’ll stop for this week and I have a treat for you. Here is a video by Robbin Sharma on 5 Powerful Tools to Overcome Pain. This will give you more ways to persevere in pain. If you like this article, do like it, share it and comment. Watch out next week for Part 2 of 7 Keys to Persevere in Pain.