Food For Thought: Pain Now or Pain Later

February 17, 2020

Photo by Jen P.

Since I don't have a car here in the NYC area, I spend a ton of time walking. I know that might sound awful to a lot of people, but I honestly love it. Not only does walking everywhere keep me active and healthy, but it also gives me so much time to zone out and listen to my favorite podcasts. One of my favorite podcasts that I've mentioned multiple times is The Life Coach School Podcast. This is hands down the most revolutionary podcast I consistently listen to.  The creator, Brooke Castilo focuses on helping her audience cultivate the mental, spiritual and physical skills we need to create the lives we want.

A few weekends ago, I was feeling a little down about a few disappointing situations and was going to open a bottle of wine to avoid my feelings, but something told me to stop and to listen to another episode of TLCS podcast instead. The episode I ended up listening to was titled "Pain now or Later," and she talked about all the problems and distractions she introduced into her life to temporarily avoid pain, grief, fear and anxiety. She goes on to discuss how running away from that pain (by being super busy, overdrinking or overeating, aka what she describes as buffering) actually PROLONGED the pain... shit. It's quite comical because although I'm aware of how problematic buffering is, I certainly fall into the trap of avoiding pain all the time.

In 2019,  I avoided the pain of aggressively searching for a second job to have the level of income that I desire (I recently got promoted so things are a lot better on that end). I consistently try to avoid the pain that comes with letting go of romantic, platonic and professional relationships that no longer positively contribute to my life. And I still find myself trying to avoid the pain/fear that comes with removing all the distractions from my life (ie, spending too much time watching TV, staying up too late, oversleeping, overspending) that interfere with building this platform into a full-time business and achieving financial freedom. So you see, I have a lot to work on.

But then Brooke introduced two eye-opening concepts that restored my sense of hope.

Reality Check Number One 
Pain is guaranteed in life and the goal is not to have less pain in life... the goal is to become more comfortable with pain... Oh damn. My entire life, I have believed that if I work hard enough and show up to the best of my ability, I will eventually have less pain in my life. HAHAHAHA, jokes on me. The real goal is to accept that life is 50% pain and 50% amazing. That's not going to change. The only reason life sometimes feels like it's 75% pain and 25% fun is because I've been resisting and fighting pain/fear more often than is helpful. The more I embrace pain, fear and anxiety, the better I will get at processing it... and the less painful my experience will because I'm not prolonging the freaking process.

Like why the FUCK are we not taught this in high school or college? I have been practicing the exact opposite thing my entire life. And so has pretty much everyone I've ever known. Most of American culture is based on throwing distractions in our face so we spend money on things, food and alcohol instead of dealing with the real freaking problem at hand. SHOOK!!!

Reality Check Number One 
Pain can actually a good thing. It's not a problem that immediately needs to be solved. ... Wait, what? I have never thought about this concept in my life!! Pain isn't a problem? I can use pain to propel me closer to my dream life? Embracing the pain of sacrificing bottomless brunch to work on my content creator career is going to help me create the career of my dreams. Sitting with the pain of being alone on a Saturday night instead of getting drunk, blowing a ton of money, and maybe drunk texting that guy we should have blocked is actually going to help us get stronger and attract a guy of higher value. Accepting the pain of job hunting for 3 hours after work instead of watching Disney+ for 3 hours is going to help you find a job that doesn't drain you and meet financial goals faster.

I'm honestly kind of fucked-up from this episode. Like oh my goodness, why am I just learning all of this profound wisdom! I could have saved myself from so much prolonged suffering. I am so grateful to have learned this concept now so I can implement the practices Brooke lists in this episode. She essentially gives us a cheat sheet on how to make this transition and start processing pain at the moment instead of procrastinating, and now we can have an even more magical relationship with ourselves. I can't think of a more amazing gift to give ourselves this month.

I would really love to hear your thoughts about this podcast/blog post. I know it is a pretty foreign concept and can be a hard one to swallow. But in my opinion, this concept is a saving grace. The best way to get through hard chapters is to embrace them instead of running from them. And before you know it, we will all be this stronger version of ourselves that the old us wouldn't even recognize. That sounds incredible to me.

Thanks again for taking a moment to read this post! I wish you a week full of growth, strength and self-love. Until next time my friend!

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