valley between mountainsEveryone goes through pain. But not everyone experiences it the same.

In my own life, I’ve found that pain is not an isolated thing. Instead it’s something that spiders out and affects the rest of me. And this has an unbalancing effect. In managing pain, getting that balance component has been critical.

The pain I’m meaning is closer to anxiety. It can be physical, eventually, but it starts mental.

A Use for Pain

Use your pain to help others in theirs. This is a counterintuitive point. And it’s one I’ve only learned through experience.

It started with someone helping me. Pain is a difficult thing to talk about, because in the middle of it all, the worse thing you can feel is someone else belittling your pain. Most people don’t mean to do this. But until you’ve been there, this can often happen.

I have a friend who’s older than me, who’s experienced the same kind of pain I have, and his advice and listening in the past few months has been irreplaceable.

That in itself was a miracle–the comfort of knowing I’m not alone. But then I experienced something else.

I was able to turn around and help someone else in their pain. I think what I’ve given out is a lot smaller than what I’ve received, but it’s been enough to see this principle at work.

An Antidote to Pain

Having someone in my corner enables me to pass on that help. And it’s that passing on that does it: that’s the antidote. That exchange–being built up, and building up–changes everything.

While the pain is still there, my perspective is different. It’s bigger. And I feel safer. I have specific people in my life who not only have my back, but understand my pain. And, because of that, I’m able to help others. This balance of being helped and giving help is, I have found, the antidote to pain.

It’s tough because it requires trust. And it’s also tough because it doesn’t remove the pain. Not completely anyway. But it does give you balance.

And that balance is how we make it across without falling.

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