Welcome back everyone! As promised, we’re continuing this week with our series on the Super Seven Life Paradoxes. So let’s get right into it with our next paradox:
3. Find joy in pain. It is your stepping stone to your next best life.
I’ve heard ancient manuscripts covering this concept for most of my life. Even among believers, it’s a tough one to get your head around—for obvious reasons! Pain, especially chronic pain, can twist your whole life around itself and make it hard even to think rationally. But that doesn’t always have to be the case.
First of all, I have to tell you that nothing I can say will make pain pleasant or make the choice of accepting it easy. I also need to clarify that finding joy in pain does not mean that you stop seeking health and wellbeing. Rather, it is about accepting pain as a teacher, even when it seems meaningless. These sorts of lessons are easy enough to understand when a child burns its hand on a hot stove, but what about relational pain? What about chronic disease?
I think this is why you don’t hear much about this concept outside of faith. Finding meaning in the pangs of life starts to make a lot more sense when you consider that this life may be the prelude to something greater. Outside of that, it’s hard to learn from pain that comes through no fault of your own—but in my experience, that’s mostly because you don’t think to look. There’s usually something to learn, if you can bring yourself to look.
I’ll leave you with this thought: it’s one thing to learn from your mistakes, but if you take the time to search, you can learn from your misfortunes, and from other’s mistakes as well.
4. Commit to love/God.
You can’t live your best life until you know what you’re living for. I have to tread carefully with this point, because I need to make it clear that I’m not pushing you to commit your life to my beliefs, but to find your own. For me, that meant rediscovering and recommitting to the God of my faith, and while I believe that God is true for everyone, my opinion isn’t what really matters for you.
The idea here is that deep commitment (whether to a faith or some set of ideals) is a necessity for reaching our best life, and that commitment has to be something you arrive at for yourself. If it is simply borrowed from your childhood or from some kind of social pressure, it will never reach the level of meaning that can change the way you live your life. There’s no shortcut here that I know of. It will be a hard search. All I can say is that if you stick it out in the right spirit, it’s worth it.
I’ll leave you with a thought on love, though, since I went so far as to put it right up there with God as a strong option. Most people that I talk to agree that love is one of the most meaningful things in this life—if not the most meaningful—but it’s not so easy to live in a way that actually puts love first and foremost. It’s the difference between being in favor of a cause and being part of a cause. Making it a part of your identity has always, will always, demand personal commitment.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd