Next time you are in pain ask yourself 3 questions.

Oftentimes we find ourselves in a position of emotional malaise. It can be for all kinds of reasons – big and small, mundane and serious.  Uncomfortable, painful, unwanted feelings and experiences have the potential to encourage us to blame, judge and reject the other, certain circumstances and even ourselves.   If you find yourself in this position, here are three questions that may hopefully inspire a fresh perspective that lead to positive answers for you:

1.  Does this incident define who I am?

Many of us attribute our experience with life to the very core of who we are.  We have erroneously adopted the false premise that the way someone speaks to us, the outcomes of our decisions and even our appearances are in direct correlation to who we are as human beings.  We make the colossal mistake of defining our whole selves by the relationships we have, by our failures, by the goings on of our day to day lives and by our pain.  The truth is these external things do not define you at all.  They might indicate the quality or state of your life experience at this present moment, but they are not YOU.

You are a magnificent, spiritual creation, above all circumstance and phenomenon; wonderful and whole, regardless of what life throws at you.  You are your triumphs; you are the beauty and strength in every time you have made the choice to pick yourself up after you have fallen – and you have done this countless times.  You see, you are what you do with the broken glass – you will never be the broken glass itself. 

Take comfort in knowing that the only constant reality is that of your uniqueness, your potential and your intrinsic worth.  Pain will become a mere memory – it is not and never will be what defines you.  When you internalize this, you will consequently recognise that the pain or problem is infinitely smaller and belongs to a new, more manageable context.

2.  What can I learn from this experience?

Life is a process, a development, a journey.  Whatever you encounter comes to teach you or heal you – remember this.  If we push the experience away it will stubbornly return with more force and urgency – yes, the Universe has a funny way in trying to better things for us.

It is important to try to courageously accept our trials, tribulations and testing junctures, for they are catalysts for growth, light and long-term internal wellness.  Once we learn this, we will be able to acknowledge the universal truth that with every bad experience or distressing season is a lesson to be learned; a lesson so necessary and valuable that it had no choice but to nudge (or slap) you so very impolitely to make it’s point, and perhaps wake you up – alerting and elevating you to new paradigms of consciousness.

Remarkably, within you is the inborn energy, innate wisdom and boundless aptitude to overcome and prevail, sitting within you like hidden precious gems; holding the promise of a more meaningful, fulfilling and sparkling chapter.

3.  How can I progress positively?

Practice the pause.  Sit down or go outside, place yourself in a quiet milieu and simply pause for a while.  Take a deep breath or ten, and just let go.  Allow peace to seep through your mind and respite to enter this moment.

Then, while observing your emotions and giving them a right to be, focus on remaining calm by recognising that the power within you is stronger and more triumphant than the circumstances around you.  Sitting with our emotions can be difficult, but practice does wonders.

Start speaking to yourself with loving, reassuring words of hope, positivity and praise (and don’t forget to make a mental note to surround yourself with people who do the same).  Spend some time in nature, do something you love, take a nap, pray.  Write a list of all the things you are grateful for.  Speak to a trusted individual for unloading-relief, encouragement, support.  These are just a few ways to positively take a hold of the situation.

If the pain originates via someone who has hurt you, set yourself free by forgiving them and accepting the idea that they could not have been any better at that time – like all human beings, they showcased their best with the tools they had at their disposal; a reflection of their character at that point, and nothing to do with you per se.  Nevertheless,  disengage and distance yourself from negativity.

Many times, a painful experience is there for you to gather your energy in the pursuit of loving yourself more – be mindful of and deliberate with your inner voice, for it has the influence to create.   Life is infinitely better when we love ourselves and when our internal conversations are dignified.

Whatever the issue at hand, the ordeal, the struggle, all can be sensibly clarified or even dissolved when we nurture healthy thought patterns and embrace the changing and challenging motions of life.  If your mind is determined and your heart is open, you can blossom and prosper even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Be open to and receiving of the experience’s message… discover the underlying lesson and you can transform the pain.  Sometimes however, just accepting certain things as they are, even with no clear answers or explanations, is what we need in order to move on.

In our difficulties, there lies tremendous potential for a personal kind of liberating redemption.