“Think of all the pain he’s caused and the people he’s hurt. Now………….make that your power!”
Sometimes, a physical pain gets left behind in the form of a scar. Scars never fully heal. They’re a reminder of a hurt that’s left its mark on us. Physical scars tend to be reasonably easy to cope with and accept.
Then, there are mental pains. These can also leave behind scars that can stick with a person forever. Or beyond (Who really knows, right?)
Some pains of the mind are just too deep to cope with, too deep to accept, and too deep to let go. They scratched the surface of the soul and left a scar on the spirit, a scar that affects what you believe, the things you think, and how you feel every single day of your life.
Every. Single. Day.
Deep, mental pains can put a vice grip on your mind, your ability to blossom and grow, and your capacity to maximize as much as your life and your potential as possible.
Deep pains of the mind can also be incredible sources of POWER. I mean INSANE.
My parents were married for nearly 25 years. When they divorced in 2007, it absolutely, unequivocally, and unilaterally shattered my world. The next few years following were hell: Mental anguish that, up to that point, I’d never really experienced before. I don’t know if you know the feeling (I surely hope not), but the feeling of experiencing your family getting ripped to shreds is definitely very, very real. It stabs.
In 2009, my relationship with the first girl I ever fell in love with also got ripped to shreds. She broke up with me because I didn’t make close to the $130,000 a year she was making. That, and I was a shitty, young, inexperienced, immature person. That didn’t help either. Like with my parent’s divorce, I was left devastated and emotionally distraught. I became depressed, lost nearly 25 pounds in a month, and didn’t leave the house the entire time.
These two experiences have left the deepest scars on me. But, while I still feel their pain twinge inside of me from time to time, those scars have massively healed over time, and I’ve certainly learned from them, grown from them, and become a better person because of them.
In fact, I credit the experience I went through with losing my first love as the one, single thing that catapulted me to where I am today. After I went through the experience and that pain, by the time I came through the other side, I was a completely changed person.
For me, it was all about turning the pain into POWER.
Turning pain into POWER. Taking something that hurts the mind and using that hurt to motivate that shit out of you. To give you a nearly unstoppable feeling of determination and drive.
Mental pain doesn’t have to leave behind a scar. Mental pain can be used as a fuel to grow mental muscle. Instead of the pain being a knife that cuts, it can be used as a mental protein to grow mental muscle and mental power.
Here’s how I turned my mental pain into mental power:
The reason I became depressed, anxious, frustrated, stressed, and mentally pained came right down to one stupid mistake:
Every day, I was focusing on things I COULD NOT control.
I continuously dwelled on my parent’s divorce, my breakup, my career work going nowhere, and everything else, both past and present, that had left or was causing me some kind of mental pain.
Time traveling is trap, because the simple fact is that the only time we have to live is RIGHT NOW. What’s done is done. It’s over. Any pain that is experienced, or challenge that is failed, is instantly banished to the past. That’s where it belongs, and that’s where it should always stay. Focusing on past experiences, completely beyond your control, are a trap that is guaranteed to send misery and frustration your way.
Stay focused on TODAY. You’re here. Right now. This moment. And, the future is always open. ALWAYS. The past doesn’t dictate the future. The present moment dictates the future. You don’t have to be your past. You can be, or think, or feel, or do whatever you want, right now, in this moment. You can be powerful.
In the end, I stopped focusing on all the things that I felt left me mentally scarred and decided to focus on the present. I stopped time traveling to events and experiences long dead that hurt me to my core. I let the past be the past and moved on.
Everyone is an interpreter. Every day, we’re interpreting what things mean. For some people, a rainy day is interpreted to mean a gloomy, lazy, worthless day where the sun doesn’t shine and everything looks sad. For others, it’s interpreted as a chance to go outside, splash in the puddles, laugh hysterically, and get soaking wet like when we were kids.
Interpretation is everything. EVERYTHING. When I went through my parent’s divorce and my breakup from my girlfriend, I interpreted those experiences in a way that gave them a negative, disempowering meaning. Instead of saying to myself, “My parent’s divorce is a signal to be more motivated, be a more-oriented person, and push harder in my life” or “My breakup with my girlfriend is meant to make me look at myself, be honest, and is a chance to fix my weaknesses and grow as a person”, I interpreted those experiences in a way which disempowered me. I attached a meaning to those experiences that destroyed me instead of drove me. I said to myself, “Fuck, my family is gone and we’re never going to be the same again. I’m never going to get married or start a family. Ever!” and “Life is over. I can’t ever recover from losing Fia. I loved her so much. What’s the point? I’m a loser who doesn’t make any money and I’ll never amount to anything. Screw this shit.”
By interpreting those experiences in a sad way and giving them a sad meaning, I went on a binge of self-sabotage self-pity.
Think about your past pains. The ones that really hurt. What have you interpreted them to mean? Have you given them a dis-empowering meaning that’s destroying you? Could you interpret those experiences to mean something more powerful that can be used as an energy source to drive you further and farther?
In the end, I changed the interpretation of what my most painful experiences meant and gave them new meaning. I changed the interpretation in a way that provided me with a new meaning that would be used to give me an absolutely unreal amount of raw desire, determination, motivation, and power. I looked at them and thought, “These pains just make me want to be better and more successful that much more.”
You know that saying, “Some scars never fully heal”? I think that saying sucks. I really do. I think its horseshit sentimentalism.
People cling to long, hurtful pains because, deep inside, they’re not willing to let them go. They’re afraid to. They’re afraid that, if they let a painful experience go, they’ll be letting go a piece of themselves, or become emotionally numb.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I like many of the principles of Buddhism. One of the main principles in Buddhism is the principle of Acceptance:
Acknowledging that what’s happened has happened, and that it’s ok.
Another one of the mistakes that I made is I didn’t fully Accept those experiences. I never said to myself, “What’s happened has happened, and that’s perfectly ok. I Accept it.” I kept mentally putting it off, Sub-consciously thinking that, if I just tried to forget about them and pretend they didn’t happen, then things would be ok.
Well, they didn’t. Not until I decided to Accept that those experiences happened, that they played an immense, impactful part of my life, and that I finally needed to embrace them, move forward, and use them as mental power.
Are there any past pains that you’ve not Accepted, and that you’re putting off from facing?
Do yourself an enormous favor, sit down with yourself, and truly, honestly, and earnestly say this: “I accept this. __________________ happened, and I accept it. I accept it.”
In the end, I became mentally liberated when I finally stopped deluding myself and Accepted the fact that my parents were divorced and that my girlfriend and I were broken up forever. That Acceptance allowed me to free myself of the mental baggage and move forward with much less weight and pain on my mind.
I love this incredible, all-too-true quote from Tony Robbins:
“Some people take disappointment and let it destroy them. Others take disappointment and let it drive them. And, you get to choose.”
You get to CHOOSE. You get to DECIDE.
When I focused and dwelled on my pains, it was because I decided to. When I interpreted my pains to mean something horrible and debilitating, it was because I decided to. When I refused to accept that my pains had happened and that there’s was nothing I could, it was because I decided to.
Our ability to Decide is one of the very few things we actually have direct and sole control over. I didn’t have any direct control over my parents getting divorced. I didn’t have any direct control over my girlfriend breaking up with me. I didn’t have any direct control when no one wanted to buy my services or support my work.
But, I did have control over my ability to DECIDE: To decide what to focus on, how to interpret my painful experiences, to accept what had happened, and to turn those mental pains into mental powers.
For me, Decision is greatest force a person has. No matter how terrible, down, or desolate a person feels or thinks they are, they can DECIDE, at any moment they choose, to go down a different path. To take a different way.
Trying to start exercising more? Get in touch with a friend you fell out with? Leave your job and pursue your undying passion in life?
“This is it!”
“Today is the day!”
“I’m doing it! NOW!”
All the past experiences that you’ve gone through that have caused you immense mental pain can be used as an incredible fuel to propel you to incredible distances. Pain doesn’t have to leave a scar. It can be a force that gives you power, increases your drive and ambition, and grows you into a whole new person.
There’s one inevitable truth about being a human and existing on this planet:
LIFE WILL ALWAYS BE FILLED WITH MOMENTS OF PAIN.
Pain is inevitable. It’s always going to be there, at some point, at some place, during some moment in your life. Accepting that fact gives one a whole new perspective and understanding that, by accepting that painful moments are just an inevitable part of living as a human, then it makes turning mental pain into mental power that much easier. It doesn’t have to be something to fear.
Some forests can’t grow to their potential unless they’re burned to the ground first.
Let your pains make you strong.
Let your pains give you power.