So, you’re here. I’ll assume you’ve been hurt, beaten, broken, torn apart. If this is not the case, you obviously haven’t lived enough. Go away. Go live. This one ain’t for you.

Still here? Good.

We’ll start with a fundamental truth most of us fail to grasp; pain is a good thing.

It’s not a pleasant thing, alright, but there’s a reason for that. It’s a warning, a blinding red flash tearing through your neurons and saying “Something is wrong!”. That’s good,  you can’t fix something, if you don’t know it’s wrong. That’s why pain is your best friend – not the easy-going dude you go for drinks with, but the no-nonsense guy who’s not too squeamish to point out you’re a mess.

Now, tell me. Would you ignore that guy? Would that guy let you ignore him?

The answer is no, no he would not. He’d jack you in the fuckin’ jaw for your own good. He wouldn’t care about your objections or your “you have no right”s. He’d have a job to do. He’d put your sorry ass up against the wall and, by God, he’d make you listen.

And you’d shut up and do exactly that, right?

Why don’t you, then?

Why is it that when you’re in pain, your first reaction is to try to stifle and ignore it?

Would you also ignore stop signs, low fuel warnings and suspended sentences?

Be rational. Instead of acting like nothing is amiss, recognize that something is and do something about it. This is the core of self-improvement, which is pretty much the meaning of life (although that’s a discussion for another day). Create a process and make a habit of going through it every time you feel the stinging discomfort of pain. Not only will it make you a better person – thus possibly preventing further trouble, further pain – but you will find it makes the pain itself more manageable.

For starters, embrace that pain. Feel it in your bones. It will (probably) not kill you. Weep through it, if you must. Cry or scream or rage through it. Do what you have to do. Let it run its course. When you’re too spent to do so anymore, you’re ready for the next step. Have a small reprieve. You’ve earned it. You’ll need it.

After all that wallowing, take a mental note of how much it actually sucked.
That’s right. It sucked big time.
You don’t want to feel like that again, do you? So, roll up your sleeves and get down to business – it’s time to find out what caused all that anguish in the first place.

Nine point nine times out of ten, you’ll find you’re partially to blame for your own suffering (at least to a point; there’s still a lot of assholes and pure, bad luck out there). Maybe you screwed up. Maybe you were screwed over. Maybe you were too trusting, too reckless or too ignorant.

This is the time to take one long, hard look at yourself and find out. Analyze your situation. Be as strict and as merciless as necessary. Point out your mistakes and your shortcomings. Try to be as just as possible. Focus on your part and do not seek to shift the blame to others. They’re their own problem.

Don’t worry if you feel lost at first. Baby steps. This is a cyclical process that you will hopefully learn to include in your everyday life. You can’t fix everything at once, so start small and work your way up – and that’s actually the next step.

Now that you’ve found out what your failings are, you know who you don’t want to be. Visualize who, in regards of those specific failings, you do want to be and see what separates you from that. Then find a way to overcome it and hammer yourself into this improved person. This is your assignment. Go do it.

So, next time your old pal Pain comes a-knocking, heed its warning and seize the chance to put this process to the test. If you dot your i’s and cross your t’s, chances are you’ll be positively impressed with the outcome. Incorporate this in your routine and your way of thinking. Don’t be afraid. Strike while the iron is hot – and strike true.

Congratulations. You just took a step in becoming a better person.

Author: Chris Wilkins

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