Imagine what will happen if you had malaria or any other illness but can’t tell or feel it. Can you even tell that you have malaria? Imagine what will happen when you have an internal wound on your body but you can’t feel the pain emanating from the tears and bleeding. Imagine what the result would be when you consume a poisonous substance but as it operates in your digestive system, you feel no pain or anything. In the three scenarios, the likely outcome is death. Pain is useful in the survival of a person. It is a great asset to possess as a human being because through it many problems are solved. Through the gift of pain, a person is alerted of carrying malaria and a cure recommended. Through the gift of pain, a man with an internal wound prevents the ailment from getting worse. Through the gift of pain, a person is alerted that what he swallowed antagonises the peace of his or her internal homeostasis. Pain is useful. In material objects, we describe it as wear and tear leading to breakdown. Imagine what would happen if your car shows no sign of breaking up before breaking up. Pain is to us what wear and tear are to the material objects we use. Without pain, so many deaths will be recorded and who can tell if the human race will still be in existence.
Pain could also serve as a means for positive change, positive attitudinal behavior and better decision making. The painful experiences gained through our shortcomings and things we have no control over could be put to good use. The pains we felt in relationships, marriages, unemployment status, sicknesses and educational status or outcomes could lead us to a better life if we reexamine them, learn from them and put what we learned to good use. So, while pain in these areas is not something anyone prays for or wishes on themselves or should wish on their neighbours or enemies, the punches it lands on the faces of its victims could be turned into the delicate hands of a masseuse. The broken pieces of broken hearts fashioned by pain could be turned into fine fillers to occupy some broken spaces. We will keep falling back to the same mistakes when we don’t use our pain. When we waste our pain we keep repeating the events that led to the pain and that means more pain. Everything under the sun can be recreated. It all depends on us and our perception of events. My pain on the poor state of Nigeria refocused my reaction to the menace. Because education and spirituality (I don’t mean religion) is largely responsible for the success of a nation, I channeled the pain in building and preaching these two requirements. Any pain can be useful, even poverty. Don’t waste it.
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Sickness, even though an extreme example, is a good place to use pain. Because sicknesses humble a man, cut and take away what he calls ‘class’ and what he uses to spice up his troubling and worrisome ego–the human mortal body, it is easier to know yourself when in such situation. It is easier to look at life from the angle of a humble person who simply wants to be healthy and not with the attachment of ‘class’ that ruined the body. But some of us miss the point. From going back to doing the things that led to the sickness to failing to use what was learned on that sick bed. If you are not using your illnesses to live healthier lives, you are simply increasing the probability of switching off. A man falls sick with massive pain as a result of a diet he is on, let’s say too much smoking, but he goes back to smoking, wrecking his lungs even further, after leaving the hospital. But this same man likes peace and happiness. He wants to live a happy and long life and be witness to his grandchildren and/or handwork. What does he really want? I was in a Keke (Tricycle) in 2012 going to Douglas in Owerri, Imo State, when the driver told me how he nearly died from smoking. He was a chain smoker, using smoking as a three-square meal and as appetizers. For about 2 years, he felt pains all over his body. His ribs ached. His lungs ached. His chest ached. He was at the point of giving away but luckily for him, he survived and vow never to smoke again. He didn’t waste his pain. There are so many people around in same condition, who want happiness and peace, living with such great torture who don’t use their pain. What are you waiting for? Death?
The richest man in Asia, founder and highest shareholder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, was rejected so many times as a job seeker that he got frustrated and used his pain positively. He was also rejected by the famous Harvard University a total of ten times. But rather than spend his pain condemning those institutions that denied him employment, rather than give up on life and become mentally broken from the tortures job hunting bring, he channelled that energy into something positive. He went from being a Biker(learning the English language from the English speakers he gives free rides) to working as a lecturer, to building websites for Chineses companies and to AliBaba. Today, he is a multi billionaire. He can decide to rest for the rest of his life and his wealth will not run dry. All these happened because he channelled his pain to greater things. While some who complain of unemployment and hunger channelled their anger, frustrations and pain into crime, others whose training made it difficult to practise evil used theirs for good. I must admit that Jack Ma did channel his thoughts into something positive and good because he had a reasonable level of good in him. That’s true. Pain, even in the wrong hands, when you used effectively, can produce something great. And great doesn’t mean good.
I read somewhere, a male page on Facebook, that a broken heart is good for your health and pocket. So many meanings could be derived from that. It was a loaded statement and I understood the angle the message was coming from. It came from the mouth of a man who has been rejected by some members of the society because of his poor financial status. A man turned down by a girl simply because she considers him too broke to ‘take care of her’. A man whose heart has been broken by family members who look at his lean pockets when listening to him speak. A man some members of the society has striped the essence of being. Let none of this blog’s readers confuse this example as my support for masculinism or a promotion of the notion that it is good to work hard simply because you want to impress anyone. The feeling and pain gotten from rejection has the potential for pulling us up or pushing us down. It’s our choice to make. Instead of focusing on the fact that we have been rejected by our families, friends and the society, we have to focus on how to become more useful to ourselves and humanity. Instead of channeling that pain in lamenting how bad that man, woman, boy or girl treated you, it is better to objectively look at the reasons for which you were rejected, understand the people who rejected you and learn how to handle the situation if it presents itself again.
About a month or two ago, I replied an undergraduate unsatisfied by his Grade Point after two(2) years in school and contemplating suicide. He has betrayed his parents, he betrayed himself, he also betrayed the society and considers himself the entire trash in the trash can. Those were his thoughts. He was in pains. Back in school, my grades weren’t good either but there was something I had and still think I have, that gave me a platform to speak to him. First, he was in pains but rather than channel that pain to something positive, he was regurgitating that, chewing it over, when he could do better. From my assessment, the love for the course wasn’t there and his only reason for studying, the only reason why he studied that course in school, like most students in Nigerian Universities, was to pass exams. Very sad. It was also evident that his idea of a good job was tied to his idea of good grades and his idea of a good job was tied to one thing. Money. I don’t blame him much, the society and system has repeatedly promoted this in formal education. I suggested he learns a skill, something he loves, something that will give him that thing for which he is schooling–money. He did. Since then he has become happier than the last time. He may not be making any money now but the fact he is sure of making enough of it has helped his depression. But why should we tie our happiness to money? That’s a topic for another day.
While we focus on our pain, we lose the lessons that could be learnt from them. Yours truly has had his share of the pain but because there is a motivation, because the lessons learnt has made it seem difficult (it could be difficult but how it appears is also a stress reliever) to fail, there is a reasonable level of happiness against what was previously on the menu. See pain as a keeper, watching and guarding the fibres of your being from getting tarnished. See pain as a reminder that you can get better at whatever you are doing or want to do. Often times I get tired punching these words on my note app and my back aches from the stooped posture and several other postures I invent while writing. But there is a certain joy that serenades my world once I’m done writing. While I feel the back aches, the joy I experience once I’m done is usually like the victory a man has after battling and defeating a wild animal. Because my pains were spent on something positive and healthy, I come out healthier and more positive. How do you spend your pain? Do you waste it?