The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones – Chinese Proverb
“I still can’t believe that Roger drop out,” said the young man in the taxi as he talked to the person on the phone. His face reflected deep emotional pain at the passing of Roger. I did not know if Roger was a family member or a friend but Roger’s passing was a painful event in his life. Perhaps as you read this article you too are experiencing pain –maybe physical or emotional. The reality as we said last week, is that none of us escapes pain on planet Earth, and thus we need to find ways to deal with it so that it does not destroy us.
In Part 1, we covered three keys to persevere in pain as taken from my book, “Heartache Queen Unshackled.” Click here to read Part 1 if you did not do so last week. Today, I’ll share four more keys that I learnt to persevere in pain. I hope these will help you as they have helped me.
Find Success Models and Examples to Emulate
Do you know anyone who has faced great pain and has overcome it? How did they do it? If they did it, so can you. There is nothing so potent as a living example or model to emulate and encourage someone along their journey. In listening to many teachers of success, modelling is emphasized repeatedly. If you want to be successful, find out what successful people do and do likewise. If you do not want to fail; find out what failures do and avoid doing likewise. Therefore, if you want to persevere in pain, learn from those who have endured great pain and have turned it into something meaningful. Learn how they triumphed over pain. Study how they overcame and follow their examples.
Turn to a Greater Power for Help
As a person of Faith, it is my faith in Jesus, prayer and the words of the Bible that help me to persevere in pain. The Bible from start to finish is filled with stories of persons who have suffered and endured great pain. Their examples of endurance serve as my models of success in persevering in pain. Models like Job, Joseph, David, Ruth and Jesus himself teach me how to persevere in pain. In these stories of overcoming pain and suffering, it is the sufferers’ faith in God that repeatedly gets them through their life challenges.
In the book 1 Peter 2: 4-7, the author encourages his suffering followers to turn to their Creator and their King in their suffering: “Come to the Lord Jesus, the stone that lives… Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.” This latter part of this verse is my favourite scripture and one of the great and precious promises that have enabled me to stand in my sufferings and rise above my adversities.
There are some sufferings that only a Greater/Higher Power can fix –no friend, no sermon, no spouse, no book and not even our best preparations can help, only the intervention of our Maker and Divine Helper will suffice. James another author in the Bible gives this advice: “Is anyone in trouble, let him pray…” (James 5:13).
Peter is careful to point out that many will not embrace this because Christ is the stone rejected, and there are those who will not believe and embrace this practice. Nevertheless, everyone has a choice and I can only respect that person’s choice. The truth is many studies have shown that Faith makes sufferers resilient. My Faith is my pillar of comfort and a pillow of peace to rest in times of suffering. Again Peter speaks to this: “A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God he can stand the pain… (1 Peter 2:10).
Reach for Social Support
When you are in pain, be it physical or emotional, you need love and a social support system, a safe place and people to relate to –to reach out and be helped. Too many people are suffering silently and prolonging their pain. I learnt firsthand that healing comes through community.
In “I’m not Okay and Neither Are You,” Dr. David Clarke emphasizes that no one heals alone. Keeping hurt to yourself does not help you or anyone else. My moments of pain led me to establish a social support group, my inner circle of dependable friends and wise advisers and this has greatly aided my healing especially during the times my relationships went sour.
Too many of us sit passively waiting for someone to offer help. We must be a friend before we need a friend. I can say categorically that my recovery from various heartaches in recent times has been quicker because I now have a strong social support network and I am deliberately transparent with my life. Too many of us on account of privacy don’t want anyone to know our pain or weaknesses. I really do not believe this kind of secrecy helps anyone. It only results in silent suffering and prolonged personal pain.
Therefore, I urge you to reach out to someone if you are in pain: a counsellor, a friend, a trustworthy minister, mentor, relative etc. Don’t be a silent sufferer. Don’t prolong your pain through silence.
Find Hope for the Future
We must accept finite disappointment but we must never lose infinite hope. –Martin Luther King, Jr.
When we have a compelling picture of the future, it makes the pain of the present bearable. The late American business philosopher Jim Rohn captured this concept quite beautifully when he said, “If you know the prize, you will pay the price. If the promise of the future is clear, then you will pay the price.”
For Christians, we have a picture of hope in that the day will come when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and the Eternal Judge of all the Earth will eventually do right.
Maybe your current pain will be the platform for your greatness. Maybe your current pain is like the training for an Olympic athlete. It is gruelling but the rewards are greater and worth the pain.
Perhaps your pain is an opportunity for others to develop compassion. Perhaps it is the price of freedom for a future generation like the pain of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Whatever the case may be, when we have a compelling picture of the future, a formidable reason to endure the pain, it makes the pain of the present bearable.
Remember no pain, no gain. For more ways to cope with pain and suffering, purchase a copy of “Heartache Queen Unshackled” today from Amazon. Contact me C. Ruth Taylor for a coaching session or workshop on the Art of Life-Hurdling to learn simple tips and strategies to overcome life’s challenges and become a life-hurdling champion.
Friends, we’ve come to the end of our series and I have a TED video treat for you on How to Practice Emotional First Aid by Dr. Guy Winch. If you like this article, do share and comment and look out for the next series: 7 Keys to Personal Transformation.