Transformation: Pain as a Catalyst

For some people it can take a whole lot of suffering and mistakes before they are willing to make changes in their immediate life. I’m sure all of you have heard the phrase “hitting Rock bottom” for some people that is their reality. Recovering drug addicts know this all too well. Many of them, including myself, had to hit rock bottom, or what felt like it at the time, before making drastic changes. Numerous people are more willing to cling to what is known and habitual even if the outcome they are receiving is less than Ideal. Sadly, this is a reality for a lot of people. Change is scary, even when we know we need it more than anything. Its easier to become comfortable with pain than to force uncomfortable changes upon ourselves.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.-Neale Donald Walsch

You may ask “How is pain comfortable?” the real answer to that is, it’s not. However, when we get used to living a life where pain is a constant we begin to accept it as an inescapable reality. When this pain is accepted as just a part of life it becomes very easy to think and believe that its too hard to change or impossible all together. In some cases, we can also believe that it may cause more pain to make changes or we find too much pleasure within the action we want to change.

I will use my self as an example to add more context to this train of thought. Growing up I had a less than ideal life. My parents did their best. However, due to the experiences I had growing up I developed a few self-defeating beliefs that caused me a lot of suffering. I believed I was unlovable because my father wasn’t around. I believed I was unwanted because my mother wasn’t as attentive as I would’ve hoped. These beliefs lead me down a dark path of drugs, homelessness, jail, and bad relationships. I will fully admit that the mistakes I made are all my responsibility. I was the reason I became homeless; I was the reason I used drugs, went to jail, and had bad relationships. It was my beliefs about myself that caused me all of my pain. Before I began to feel lovable I showed myself how unlovable I was with my actions. Before I felt wanted by myself, I did things to others to make them not want to be around me. It took me years to realize I was self-sabotaging my own life. I felt like I was “Getting what I deserved.”

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”-Thich Nhat Hanh

My personal actions caused me to lose everything. I had no stable home, I lost all of my possessions, and I hated my life. I felt that it wasn’t my fault, I believed that I was destined for these horrid situations. I wanted to die. I didn’t love myself, and I didn’t know how to accept love from others. I only knew how to numb the emotions and mental anguish I was in with drugs or drinking. Which in turn caused me more pain. Using drugs to cover up emotional or mental instability works as a feedback loop. For example, people with low confidence will often drink to feel more confident or likable by the crowd they hang with. The next day they wake up feeling hungover from the alcohol and the confidence problems are still there, so what happens next, they drink again. This cycle will continue to repeat itself until either the alcohol has its grip on you or the trigger for the use of alcohol is dealt with.

It took me years to learn from these lessons. It took me years to actively change and grow and live life in a new way. I didn’t do it alone though, there were plenty of people that helped and I needed to believe that I was worthy of help before I could take the information they offered and use it to its fullest. About 11 years ago I was homeless. Today I have a family, a business, I am a student, and constantly growing with life. I was responsible for my transformation just as you are.

I know this isn’t going to be everyone’s experience. It may come in many other forms. However, if this is you and you have gone through a lot of pain and trauma I can tell you its not hopeless. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, a treasure inside the chest in your heart. You are a gift to yourself. You are a light for others. If you are willing to take responsibility and transform the parts of you that hurt, that feel defeated, you will see the progress firsthand. You are not beyond help; you may believe you are but that’s a lie. If you have even a little faith in the process and you begin to believe in yourself and your abilities to accomplish goals and make change you will be successful, you will grow and you will Transform into who you want to be and are meant to be.

I believe that each of us has the ultimate capacity to do the right thing for ourselves and others. But always put yourself first. Fill your cup with things that fulfill you, stop emptying your cup for things that harm you or others. I know it’s easier said than done, but it is entirely possible. It takes a lot of work a lot of self-honesty and a lot of personal responsibility but you are powerful and capable to do it if you choose too.

“ Real transformation requires real honesty. If you want to move forward — get real with yourself.”-Bryant McGill
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