Pain is a normal part of life, but that doesn’t mean it’s a necessary part of life.

Too many people live as though suffering will help them get where they want to be; as though it will resolve them of their worry, earn them greater respect, or make them more deserving of what’s good in their lives.

Too many people live thinking that overworking oneself to the point of exhaustion is the only path to success, that overthinking the fine details of your most excruciating letdowns is the only path to healing them, that if someone did something to hurt you, holding onto that pain is necessary, because you must, in some way, deserve it.

Though not conscious, these beliefs run so much of our lives, they dictate so much of what we will allow, and ultimately, what we will become.

Pain is a symptom. It is a teacher. It is a way of showing you what matters, what’s wrong, what needs to change, and what needs to go.

Pain arrives when we need to learn a lesson.

Pain arrives as a warning, as a signal, as a means of communicating when our path must change course.

Pain lingers when we don’t know how to let it go, when we carry it from one experience to the next, projecting all of our worst fears onto whatever happens to be in front of us at the moment.

Though we cannot always control when pain shows up, we can always ask what purpose its presence is supposed to serve. We can always ask what it is intended to show us about our lives.

When painful things happen, it is normal and healthy to feel hurt. What’s not normal or healthy is to stay stuck there because we never learned how to process, how to heal, and how to move forward.

Let’s be clear about something: you are meant to heal what hurts you. You are not supposed to be in pain forever.

You are, instead, meant to metabolize it. You are meant to cry when life is sad, and mourn when you have been disappointed. You are supposed to feel pain, not overthink it. Then you are supposed to learn from it. You are supposed to let it show you what matters. You are supposed to let it guide you to a path of more belonging, more purpose, and more fulfillment.

Pain does not arrive to punish you.

It arrives to remind you that you do not deserve to be punished forever.

It arrives to remind you that a greater life is possible, if you have the courage to reach for it.

It arrives to show us the space between where we are and where we are meant to be, and it lingers when we fail to bridge that gap.

Your pain is not here to hurt you.

It is here to make you free.

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