4 reasons why you've got to experience painful moments
MANILA, Philippines – Pain isn't all that bad. Sometimes, you need pain to progress.
November 12 is the birthday of my grandfather, Tatang. During this time, we're supposed to behave accordingly and wear our casino outfits that may be too tight for comfort.
We're supposed to laugh and tease Tatang because of his usual get-up of striped polo shirt, black slacks, old baseball cap and Niké rubber shoes – wherever he goes.
Most especially, we're supposed to act like we're small and innocent angels because we're hoping that Tatang would slide us an extra P500 or so. (After all, we needed the money to hang out at a coffee shop while waiting for them to get tired of betting some of their pension money away!)
Yes, we were supposed to do all these things. It was an old tradition that always managed to put a smile on my face.
Now, though, the only things that we can do are to pack up some spaghetti, wear mourning clothes and drive to the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
We needed to go where the birthday celebrant is, right? This is where Tatang is now. He passed away last August 2012.
The death of my grandfather was one of the most painful experiences that I've ever encountered. It broke me, shook me and destroyed the very foundation of my being. Needless to say, the death of a loved one is hell.
Looking back, though, I've realized that because of this painful experience, I've learned a lot of things. My past self would hate me for saying this, but I'm actually quite enlightened right now because of all the pain I've felt.
I'd love to share them with you. Here they are:
1. Pain helps you appreciate every little good thing that comes your way.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” This is such a commonly used quote that some would say it's already a cliché.
Now, while comparing your experience with other people's experience will really rob you off your joy (since life really is unfair), comparing your experiences with one another can indeed make you appreciate everything more.
If you don't know pain or sorrow, how can you know happiness and joy? You can only feel joy once you've felt sadness.
Imagine tasting sweet candy everyday for the rest of your life? After several months go by, the taste wouldn't be so sweet anymore. In the end, this sweetness will just numb your taste buds.
You need to break down, suffer and be in pain once in a while. Bitterness complements sweetness. Without it, you'll just take everything for granted.
2. Pain lets you know who your real friends are.
Pain isn't pretty – both physically and emotionally.
It will give you blood-red eyes, several weeks of bad hair days and thinner or thicker thighs (depending on your eating behavior during depression).
Additionally, pain will make you more short-tempered, sensitive and self-centered. You'll yell more, cry more and ignore your loved ones' needs more.
When you're this crazy, depressed and hard to be with, who will still want to stay with you? Who will still cope with your behavior and help you get back on your feet?
Your real friends will call you out on your behavior and have a hard time coping with your suffering self. However, they won't leave you. They'll stay with you, be with you and still support you through your darkest hours.
You'll only know who they are when that time comes.
3. Pain gives you clarity.
Pain allows you to be true to yourself. It doesn't let you sugarcoat things – it lets you see things for what they really are.
As an example, the pain of losing a loved one is real. It's sincere. It's heart-felt. Death isn't serene at all! It's messy, it's complicated and it's hurtful. Having this knowledge, you'd learn to treat death as something that is real instead of something that is idealistic.
Also, the clarity that you get from pain allows you to bring comfort to other people in the future. You can't comfort someone if you don't know exactly what they're going through, right?
4. Pain gives you that push to enable you to make the necessary changes in your life.
When I lost my grandfather, I realized that family is really one of my priorities in life.
One of my biggest regrets was not having enough money to take him to the nearest hospital when he had a stroke. I thought to myself, 'Hey, I'm already working! Where did my salary go to? Why wasn't my sweldo there with me when I needed it the most?'
The pain, the frustrations and the several months of binge-eating made me realize that I could experience all these again – if I wasn't prepared enough. So I stood up, learned about personal finance and got my finances in order for me to be able to take care of my family.
Naturally, I didn't stop with just myself. I wanted to reach out to more people and encourage them to work on their money management as well. I didn't want them to feel the pain of losing a loved one just because of a lack of awareness on how to properly handle money!
You see, pain encourages you to grow and develop as a better person.
Do you know how a small seed can become a huge tree some day? It's not just because of the nourishing water or the rich soil – it's because of the harsh sunlight as well.
So the next time you encounter a painful experience, cry. Yell. Curse.
In the end, you'll realize that pain is a much needed precursor for you to change for the best. – Rappler.com
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Lianne Martha Laroya is a financial advisor. She's also the founder of The Wise Living, a website dedicated to educate you on money management and early investing without boring you to tears. Get your FREE copy of her basic personal finance book for 20-somethings. Connect with her on Twitter, @MsLianneLaroya"
Hopeless man photo from Shutterstock