5 Reasons to Accept Pain in Order to Be Happy
Happiness and pain seem to be contradictory and incompatible terms. But, is it possible to be happy in the midst of pain? Accepting pain is not only possible while on the search for happiness, it is necessary.
In truth, happiness doesn’t mean the absence of pain. In fact, true happiness remains even in the midst of it. The point is not to avoid the pain we feel or minimize its impact in our lives. This impact and our lives themselves are both deeply beautiful and painful. You can’t have one thing without the other.
Happiness is a state of being OK in any circumstance. This has very little to do with our circumstances and is directly associated with the way in which we think about our lives and what is happening around us.
The fact that happiness is contagious is not only a pleasant thought. Instead, it is a chemical process which takes place within our brains, thanks to mirror neurons.
When we see someone experiencing an emotion, our brain can “try out” that same emotion by imagining what the other person is going through. The brain does this to try to trigger the same synapses that can be associated with the emotions it has identified. This, which is basically empathy, is also a way in which we get a sense of the mentality of the crowd.
Every time these synapses fire off, the brain is reshaped. This is why it is so important to spend time with people who are capable of being in a good mood. People who radiate joy. Also, you should avoid pessimists and grumpy people. But this is just the first step. Accepting pain still implies a set of issues that we must analyze.
Why will accepting pain help make you happier?
The benefits of happiness are undeniable. For example, it can help us live a longer and healthier life. But, the truth is that many people have no clue how to be happy. In fact, the searches for happiness that some people undertake end up being counterproductive. In part because they are based on avoiding and eliminating the sorrow in their lives.
But we have already commented that happiness is much more than the absence of sorrow. Pain is, in truth, a necessary part of happiness. In fact, research and studies show that it can give way to pleasure in many ways. Up next, you’ll see why.
1. Pain helps you recognize pleasure.
Happiness as a state of mind is a matter of contrasts. If you were happy all of the time, you wouldn’t be able to recognize that state as happiness. Sometimes it’s necessary to experience the opposite end of the spectrum in order to be able to recognize and appreciate true happiness.
This doesn’t mean that there has to be an absence of pain in order to recognize pleasure. Instead, regardless of its type or origin, it’s possible to value and enjoy the little details that you wouldn’t even notice otherwise.
Pain is not pleasant, but its relief sure is. Studies show that when pain disappears the body experiences an increase in happiness. An increase that’s above and beyond the level of happiness you would experience if you had never felt the pain.
3. Pain strengthens social bonds.
Pain nurtures empathy. That’s why people tend to gravitate towards others who are going through a tough process, such as the death of a loved one or a severe illness. This social connection that emerges from sorrow increases cooperation and brings out the best in people.
Thanks to this, the overcoming of pain is much easier and strengthens these relationships. It creates much stronger connections which go much further. In this sense, sorrow will help you get to know people and discover the good there is in them. You discover things that will remain even when the storm has passed.
4. Enduring pain makes you worthy of a reward.
Overcoming a difficult situation makes you feel worthy of an award earned through your effort. What you earn is not important in this case. What matters is feeling that you have overcome adversity, that you have overcome yourself.
In truth, it is this overcoming and knowing how to do so which constitutes the real reward. Which can be translated really into any simple thing whose role is to make us more conscious of the effort invested.
5. Pain makes you more aware.
Pain makes you aware of what is happening in the present moment. It makes you live in the here and now. Maybe saying it like this makes it sound unimportant. Yet, being aware is an ability that’s directly associated with happiness.
Being aware of what you are currently experiencing makes you forget superficial issues in order to concentrate on what truly matters. That way you avoid worrying about things that have no solution and feeling anguish over the uncertainty of not knowing what could happen tomorrow. Learning how to remain in the present moment, even when you are experiencing pain, can help you have a happier life.