Posted: August 6, 2021 in: Pain-2-Power, Personal Empowerment

What You “Lived Through” Can be the Gift You Bring to the Lives of Others

Nothing is wasted in this life, unless we forget that we have the ability to turn pain into power.  That means that every page and chapter and theme of your life story that you found challenging or painful or traumatic or trying is just waiting for you to give others the gift of the insights you won living through them.

Did you live through economic uncertainty or even poverty as a child?  Do you know that the anxiety you dealt with and, possibly even the hunger you experienced, allows you to empathize with the anxieties and hungers of others—whether financial, or otherwise?  Do you know that having survived what you lived through means you are a living symbol of the potential that others can?  Do you know that you have been made an ambassador of healing with the power to comfort and inspire others because you know what they are going through or have been through?

There are some prerequisites to being able to use your pain in this powerful way, of course.  First, you can’t be on the run from your reality.  You have to be willing to turn and face and explore the painful parts of your own story—often from much, much earlier in your life—in order to harness them and deploy them, to the good.  Otherwise, you will go to great lengths to pretend they don’t exist, and that pretending could have the opposite effect from turning your pain into power.  If you are on the run from your own truth, after all, you run the risk of unconsciously suggesting that others should run from theirs.

Second, you have to be willing to take a chance that your overtures toward others might be rejected.  Not everyone is ready to take the hand held out to them, even when it is offered in an effort to steady the other person.  Sometimes, the person with obvious signs of depression who you share your own history of depression with will choose to turn away.  Sometimes, the entrepreneur who is starting out won’t be willing to accept both your excitement and your sage wisdom about “capital being precious,” if you have the experience of having wasted some of yours.  There are people who are ready to receive gifts and others who are not.  But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth the effort to reach each and every one of them.

Here’s what I can promise:  If you do your part of the Pain-2-Power work, then not only will you be made stronger (and a lot stronger), but you will, indeed, find others who can benefit from your pain and also be made stronger.  There is not one of us whose complex life story will be mined only to the benefit of that individual.  Not even one.

As I have written before, “We are much more alike than different, in our hopes and fears, and much more alone than we need to be.”

Dr. Keith Ablow

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