Why Emotional Stress and Pain Isn't Always Such a Bad Thing

by Catherine Pratt

I recently watched a television show about a little girl who was born without any pain receptors. She can't feel any pain no matter what she does. People will say to her mother, “Wow, I’d like to not be able to feel any pain,” to which her mom always replies, “No you don’t.” She goes on to say that pain is what keeps us safe in this world. Without being able to feel pain, we can’t tell when we’re hurting ourselves. This little girl

has basically blinded herself from poking herself in the eyes and has suffered severe burns because she has no concept of what things like a hot stove mean. She hurts herself without realizing it simply because she cannot feel it.

So, we’re very lucky that we can feel pain. It’s not something that we’re usually grateful for, this ability to feel pain. When you think about it though, it’s so important. It tells you when to stop doing something. Something is causing damage to your body and your pain receptors tell you to stop. It’s the same with your emotional pain. Although, you may not like to feel pain, your emotional stress is trying to keep you safe in several ways:

Something is Wrong

It is only when you feel sad or frustrated or upset that you realize that something is wrong. If you just felt happy all the time you wouldn’t take the time to look at your life and see where it can be improved.

We Need to Grow

We will keep going status quo until something interrupts the flow and causes us to re-think how we are doing and where we are going. Emotional pain which could be caused from being turned down for a promotion to having a fight with a good friend, can all cause you to stop and think about your life.

It's a Valuable Reminder

When you feel negative emotions, it can be a good reminder of why you’re trying to achieve a goal and it can also remind you not to make the same mistake over and over again. Unlike the little girl who can’t tell what a hot stove means, you can tell what causes you pain and learn and grow from your life lessons.

"I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now"

I heard a senior say this to her friend at the grocery checkout line last week. It made me think, “Yes, there’s a lot of stuff I wish I knew before I’d made a mistake”. But, when I think back, I’ve learned way more by going through the mistakes rather than getting it right all the time. It also caused me to understand myself better. All very valuable. I find you also tend to remember your mistakes longer than your accomplishments.

As Adam Osborne says, "The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake - you can't learn anything from being perfect."

Your Wants Become Visible By Your Don't Wants

You need to know what you don’t want before you can figure out what you do want. As soon as you run into a situation which you don’t like, you can turn it around to discover what you do want. For example, if you’re sick and tired of your job, you can either just accept it or turn it around and start figuring out what kind of job you do want. Until you know what you want, you can’t go get it. For an example on how to turn your don’t wants into a want, see “The Game of Opposites, How to Instantly Deal With Frustration”.

Your Life Is Starting To Change

Change can be stressful but you can think of it as a good thing. You're no longer satisfied with how things were and you've now grown enough to be able to make the changes you want in your life. The old is falling away to make room for the new. This emotional stress you're going through is just the growing pains on the way to the new, exciting life of your dreams.


Emotional stress and pain can be valuable if we take the time to think about what it may be trying to tell us or use it to learn a little bit more about ourselves. Something to be grateful for that we normally don't appreciate.

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