Two months ago I had a shoulder replacement. For several months prior to the surgery I experienced severe pain in my right arm and shoulder. I am right-handed so the pain limited my actions. This is not the first time I experienced physical pain but this time it brought a much clearer awareness of how I deal with pain, and how others around me deal with pain.
Hopefully, I didn’t make others uncomfortable with my experience of pain and suffering. Many years ago, I knew someone who made sure everyone close by knew what terrible pain and suffering she was experiencing. The constant groans and grimaces, the inability to do anything helpful for others, the silent plea to feel sorry for her were all too evident. People around her were uncomfortable.
I believe she was the exception to how most people act in difficult situations. A friend recently experienced the death of her oldest daughter. She experienced deep emotional pain, and even today has bouts of deep sorrow. If you didn’t know about her loss and emotional pain you would never guess that she suffered.
No two people experience suffering and pain in the same way. Suffering is unique to each individual. I can’t venture to guess what the reason was for the first example of including everyone in her suffering. Was it influenced by her upbringing, a need for others to notice her, or a pain so great she couldn’t keep it inside? Only she knew the answer. In the second example some of the same questions can be asked as well as what was the source of her inner strength.
In an earlier blog it was suggested to ask others how they perceived you. Do they see you as someone who is private about everything going on in your life or is everything out there for everyone to see? How do you react to difficult situations in your life? In what ways have you experienced pain or suffering and how did you deal with it?
No one in this life will escape the experience of pain and suffering. It is part and parcel of being human. Dealing with pain and suffering can be a means of growth or it can distance you from others. The choice is yours.
How do you deal with pain and suffering in your life?
What is the source of inner strength that helps you through your times of pain and suffering?