Our Power Lies In How We Choose to Respond to Our Pain

Written by on March 13, 2018 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments

By Carrie Dale | Tiny Buddha

“The strongest hearts have the most scars.” ~Unknown 

Maybe it’s true, that the strongest hearts have the most scars.

And maybe the pain and the discomfort we experience in life can serve as a great teacher, if we choose to see it that way.

Everyone has bumps, bruises, and pains in life, right?

Things happen that are outside our control, and it’s up to each one of us to decide how these experiences shape us.

There are those who endure incredible trauma and pain and choose to use those experiences to see life differently. They learn from it, grow, and move on.

And there are also those that go through horrible pain and don’t have strong hearts. They have broken hearts that just stay broken.

What’s the key difference between those who are able to find meaning from their hardships and move on and those who don’t?

This difference is the very key that took my life from one big red-hot-mess to what I would define as true success—a life of freedom, happiness, and meaning, soulfully driven and led by spirit.

But it didn’t start that way.

I didn’t choose to be adopted.

I didn’t choose to have a table fall on my head when I was five, causing a severe head injury and coma, which would require a decade full of EEG’s and anti-seizure meds.

I didn’t plan an ugly divorce. I didn’t plan on meeting the love of my life at a wacky spiritual retreat in Brazil and then, in saying yes to that love, losing friends, family, and my home in the process.

I didn’t choose a lot of the bumps, bruises, and scars that visibly covered my body and secretly covered my heart.

The first, most significant scar probably started when I was adopted.

I was the product of a teen pregnancy—loveless and unplanned. My birth mother was sent away from her small hometown to give birth to me in a strange city, alone and, I am sure, quite freaked out. I don’t imagine it was the idyllic birth experience most of us moms would want to have.

Having two incredible daughters that are pretty much pieces of my heart walking around on this earth, I know well what it means to be a mother. I know what it means to carry, grow, nurture, and raise a human in this world. I know what it means to be willing to do anything for your children.

I also know what it means to not feel connected to a mother.

I know what it’s like to feel like an outsider—unwanted, unseen, and unheard.

And regardless of how amazing my adoptive parents were (and still are), I still felt like the oddball, and not a real part of the family.

I felt like a mistake.

I grew up feeling like there must have been something wrong with me since my own mother gave me up for adoption.

I must have been broken. I must have been a freak, so I had to do everything humanly possible to not let them see the truth—that I was not worthy of love because I was not worthy of being kept.

So I carried that scar with me, ready to sabotage relationships due to a fear of abandonment.

Ready to sabotage success due to a fear of not being good enough, for anything.

I didn’t realize, at that moment, that I was choosing a pattern of thinking and feeling that was keeping me stuck.  

No one was forcing me to feel unworthy and to think negative thoughts about myself. I was choosing my pain. I was perpetuating the story rather than seeing my pain as a teacher, learning from it, and finding meaning in it.

It wasn’t until I made a conscious choice to address my pain, get help, and learn to see my struggles in a different light that things shifted dramatically for me.

And this didn’t happen overnight.

It was a gradual process of awakening that began with seeing a qualified therapist in my late teens.

Because I had a deep desire to understand more about human behavior and motivation, I majored in psychology and sociology. After that, I became a voracious student of personal growth and spiritual work, digesting all I could in the form of books, courses, and retreats.

I started noticing that I was relating to my past experiences differently.

I was telling a new story that embodied what I had learned from these various modalities.

It wasn’t my fault that I was given up for adoption, nor did it mean I was unworthy. And I wasn’t a horrible, ugly person because of some of the choices I had made—I was human.

Those painful experiences didn’t define my life in a negative sense any longer. The old story of hurt, blame, and resentment was replaced with a new story of healing, awareness, and inner strength.

In my opinion, this is one of the key reasons people either learn, grow, and move on or they stay stuck in victim mode and keep hurting. They choose to stay stuck in the painful place by holding on to the disempowering story that causes them to suffer. They keep playing the tape of the hurt rather than the tape of the healing.

To move on, transcend, and grow from any painful experience requires courage, willingness, and the belief that you can choose to see your past differently—that you can feel differently about it and free yourself from the chains of pain.


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