Hearing 'Pain Is Temporary, Lessons Last a Lifetime' When the Pain Is Chronic

“Pain is temporary, lessons last a lifetime.”

I’ve heard this phrase dozens of times in my lifetime, especially in the past 12 years since my pain journey began. But what if your pain is chronic? Meaning it never goes away? Does that mean you never stop learning? What does it mean? A question even the smartest man in the world can’t answer. Although I think this is the type of question with multiple answers. The type where no answer is wrong, which basically means there’s no right answer either.

Yes, lessons last a lifetime. The lessons I have learned from having chronic pain are ones I will never be able to replace. And a lot of those with chronic pain, especially teenagers, say that even though they don’t like it, they can’t imagine their life any other way. Chronic pain. Just from hearing those two words it doesn’t sound pleasant.

And I can’t speak for everybody, but I wouldn’t change the chronic pain journey I have been on. Has it been rocky? Has it been scary? Yes and yes. But have the lessons I’ve learned been worth it? Yes. Have I become a better person because of it? Yes. Have I learned not to take things so seriously? Yes. Do I smile through the pain? Yes. Does it knock me down sometimes? Yes – but I show it I will always get back up. Sometimes when I’m giving someone directions, I have to think really hard when I’m telling them to turn left or right. And I think, “OMG, is this really my life? I seem so “normal,” yet I can’t even differentiate between left and right?” But then somehow I get through it.

So what if your pain isn’t temporary? You keep learning new things about yourself. I’m learning new things about myself every day. And it’s the most beautiful journey I’ve ever been on.

You turn into a different person when you have chronic pain. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing; maybe it’s like an abstract painting you can continue to look at and learn from every day. And eventually you think it’s the most beautiful painting you have ever seen.

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Thinkstock photo via igorr1.

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