Sometimes Our Own Pain Helps Us Understand the Pain of the World

Sometimes Our Own Pain Helps Us Understand the Pain of the World
Raquel Aldana

Written and verified by the psychologist Raquel Aldana.

Last update: 14 December, 2021

It is interesting to try to understand how our personal history shapes us. When considering one’s personal story, it is amazing to ponder how a single can influence our entire outlook.

It is true that the people who have been hurt by the past are often have insights that those who’ve sailed smoothly through life lack. They tend to be the most thorough and well-prepared to confront adversity, and to transform it. 

It seems clear that suffering essentially forces us to contemplate a variety of different realities that are less concentrated on the self. In other words, there are wounds that make us sensitive to the wounds of the world. 

“The most beautiful people whom I have met are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and who have found their own way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, humility, and a deep and loving curiosity. Beautiful people do not come from nothing.” 

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 

backs of women's heads world

Transforming pain in order to move forward 

A person who has been hurt needs to go through certain psychological processes to be able to return to the real and regular world, once they are ready.

So, they need to be able to transform pain and turn it into something positive. This takes effort, and is a great deal of work and resilience. This emotional distancing from whatever scarred the person is possible thanks to defense mechanisms that, although difficult at times, are necessary.

Some of the most common emotional reactions are:

  • Denial: “No one believes I have suffered.”
  • Isolation: “I remember when that happened, but there is nothing emotional about it.” 
  • Fleeing towards the future: “I am constantly looking out to stop anything from making me feel that anguish again.” 
  • Rationalizing the events: “The more I try to understand, the more I am taken over by unbearable emotion.” 
girl on roof with heart


Wounded people are the most beautiful 

Of course, we will never be able to completely rid the world, nor ourselves, of problems. There will always remain traces, and the fear that the pain will come back to haunt us. However, the fact that we have experienced pain gives us the ability to make our existence more bearable, more beautiful, and more meaningful. 

Fortitude is born from going through the mud and dirt and allows us to channel the effect of those painful traces of the past. It allows us to give a voice to that which torments us. It helps us to strengthen those attitudes that facilitate love and understanding towards the world.

girl on earth with lights world

People who have been hurt and who have come out victorious possess an astonishing ability to be grateful. They know that it is impossible to be anything but what we truly are, and that it is possible to give from our own hearts that which can make others happy.

Anyone who has been hurt is perfectly aware that the very same world that harmed is the same one that healed.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.