Every year that I live I am more convinced that the waste of life lies in the love we have not given, the powers we have not used, the selfish prudence which will risk nothing, and which, shirking pain, misses happiness as well.Mary Cholomondeley
Mary’s point is very well taken–how much of my life has been defined by the things that I haven’t dared to do? How much of who I am has been defined over the years by the risks I didn’t take, the help I haven’t given, or the love I haven’t shared? Has my desire to avoid pain been so strong that I’ve sabotaged my own possibilities for growing, for living, for learning? Do I have powers hidden behind walls?
We will feel pain in this world. People will hurt us and disappoint us and treat us poorly. Things outside of our control like hurricanes and snowstorms and car accidents will happen. They will cause grief and anguish and pain. But if we spend our lives trying to avoid these types of pain, we won’t put ourselves in situations in which we can learn and grow. If I’m afraid that someone will hurt me, I won’t share my love and strength.
I don’t want to waste my life. I want to give all that I can to others while I’m here, and not focus simply on career or money or the attainment of material goods. Yes, I do have to take care of myself first and foremost, for if I don’t do so then I won’t be able to take the risks that will help me to grow, but taking care of myself doesn’t necessarily imply avoiding pain at all costs.
We cannot make our lives gifts to other people if we don’t risk some unpleasantness. We can’t use our powers for the good of the world if we keep them to ourselves, hidden behind walls that we’ve erected for “safety,” hiding from the possibility of being hurt. We will be hurt, but how we see that hurt is what determines whether we learn from it or allow it to debilitate us.
Questions to ponder:
1. Why do so many of us spend so much time avoiding pain of all sorts at all costs?
2. Can we ever really help someone else if we’re hiding
behind walls that we’ve built ourselves?
3. What are some ways that we can view painful experiences that may help us to learn and grow from them?
For further thought:
I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process.
Credit: Living Life Fully