Pain is Not a Coincidence

Fear in the Face of Pain, Acrylic on Canvas Board by judy

“On a serious note – YES, I can be serious, seriously!
I believe that life isn’t random and there are no coincidences. Everything that happens is to help us learn to let go of what is not needed and hold onto what is. The trick is learning the lessons before we are towed under. It’s hard when the lessons involve pain. But then again I believe the most important lessons always involve pain of some kind. It’s still hard”

I wrote that in response to a blog post on another blog.  The reply I got back was,  Weird how I believe there are no coincidences with good stuff and interesting stuff. I never thought of it for this [pain, catastrophe, etc] but I do now.”

I was surprised. I had never considered that there might be people I work with in my practice who believe pain, physical or mental, was a coincidence, a random happening when they collided with fate.

I know that all the most important learning experiences I’ve had come from pain or fear.  Even the most basic of things.

I lose weight because I fear what others will think of me in a bathing suit.  I eat healthy because I have gastric pain.  I rethink my life when in the throes of betrayal.  I could go on and on and on and on – which is my tendency, as my good friends know.

Here’s an exercise I’ve taught: Reflect – How many significant changes, how many important life altering lessons did you learn when you were happy, pleased, content, complacent, oblivious . . .?

Draw a line through your life and find the common thread of what you’ve lost, what you’ve had to let go of, what you feared losing,  losing a dream of what should be, could have been.  Almost always there is something difficult, painful, trying that recurs in different forms, different times, different ways throughout our lives.  Most often it is about loss, letting go.

If you follow the thread and how it weaves into your life you will probably find the lesson(s) you are here to learn.

My big lesson I have had to learn over and over in different times and ways is that I am not my pain, I am not what I do or what I have.  And I am here – as I believe we are all here – to serve with love and help each other grow with wisdom.

 My pain is still here. I’m still learning.

17 thoughts on “Pain is Not a Coincidence

  1. Pingback: Pain-is-not-a-coincidence | Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Society

  2. Loss. Having never experienced it before, I never knew anything could hurt so bad. The pain I have felt is excruciating. I actually fear ever feeling such pain again. Through my loss and resulting pain, I have been forced to face some of my fears. It is not by choice. I hope to some day look back on all of this with clarity and see something positive. Right now, when I look back, I only see what I had, what I lost, and what I miss more than mere words can express. Therefore, it hurts too bad and I am forced to look forward by default. From my perspective, I must grow and learn in spite of the pain. It’s not easy — it is necessary.


    • Raffie,
      I applaud your sharing this as I am sure it will touch others who have or had the same excruciating pain with a dear loss.
      And you are right it is not easy, just necessary if we are to honor the ones we’ve lost.
      with love,


    • Raffie,
      There’s a place for grief, too. It’s ok to go through times of anger/grief over what your losses. If we dwell in the grief, then we are more likely to get “stuck” there and not have the clarity to recognize those positive things. If you “run” from the grieving process, it keeps returning until you deal with it. Been there/ done that. Doesn’t work.

      Today was a horrible day for me. I had some of the losses and bad outcomes of my injury slam me in the face. I’m scared, frustrated, angry… and I still try to see something positive. Otherwise, I’d not get up tomorrow. =)


      • Lydia,
        I agree that there is a place for grief. It’s a normal, appropriate human emotion that will return triple fold if we run from it. Your words are wise and I very much appreciate your filling in some of the pieces of this process called “human”. I can learn from you.

        I am so sorry you are being slammed once again. I can not begin to even imagine what you have been through as the result of that accident and the losses you’ve had. You are obviously an exceptional person to still try to find the positive. And I really mean that from the bottom of my heart and the top of my soul.
        Blessings, fortitude and love,


      • Lydia,

        You are so right. I have been told from the beginning not to run from my grief. I have faced it and confronted it. Some days it’s easier than others. I have no doubt I will survive, although I didn’t feel that way 6 months ago. I am now trying to focus positive energy in a way that will honor my husband. It still hurts — a lot — and I am certain there will be horrible days ahead. The days such as you are having today where the past smacks you in the face are so difficult, compounded by the fact that you don’t see them coming. Stay positive — you are an inspiration. Thank you for your kind words and I hope your day gets better.



        • Raffie,
          I’m sorry for the loss of your husband. I love what you said about honoring him with being positive and doing positive things. Your husband will live on in you. It’s my belief you will be together again. This painful separation is temporary… but very difficult. When a couple of Soliders I knew were killed, I planted a tree in memory of each. While I did not have the same emotional connection as you do with your husband, seeing something living, growing, and thriving reminds me about the beauty of life. Hang in there.


  3. So much food for thought here. It truly never occurred to me that the most profound changes I’ve made in my life came about at a time of pain & upheaval, and that those sweet times of contentment did not contribute much to my growth as a human being.

    I am trying to help my husband find some meaning behind his pain. No idea whether this will resonate with him but he’s going to hear all about it.

    Licking, I mean Liking, very much.


    • Jane,
      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I too had never realized that growth comes from pain until I became a therapist later in my life.
      It takes awhile to find the meaning behind the pain. Of course if you don’t look for the meaning you never find it. Usually the meaning comes in retrospect, looking back at the trajectory of our lives.
      I so hope he will be able to find some meaning for the pain he’s suffering. Meaning changes the way we view ourselves and life – always, I’ve found, for the better.


  4. Judy, I agree with you and understand how hard it is for us to grasp. It makes us responsible for everything in our lives…which makes ‘victum’ thinking fly out the window. Thanks for your words of insite….I needed it today. Love Laurie M.


    • Laurie,
      It is almost impossible to fully grasp. That’s because as humans we are so limited. Max can sense things that are beyond my capabilities and butterflies navigate by tapping into magnetic fields! There is so much we don’t know.
      Yes, you are completely correct. We are victims of our own egos.
      You are not a victim. YOU ARE LOVE!
      with my Love, J.


  5. It’s a matter of perspective. If you can find, or create, something meaningful from pain or bad experiences, that’s when you grow. It also helps in the healing process. I don’t think my accident was “sent” to me so I’d learn. That would be cruel, IMO. By choosing to learn, I also find meaning. We can’t control our world. We can choose how we respond. We spend a lot of time dodging pain. Sometimes the best way through it is by accepting it first.


    • Lydia,
      Absolutely. Your accident was not “sent” to you so you’d learn. You learn from your accident. I agree. Our choice is how we respond. Yet responding in ways that continually don’t work is not learning. I think your are very wise in your outlook. Kisses to all the Ferret Furry Folk and you too.


  6. Still love it, glad you expanded it. I read on a bloggers blog post that she really didn’t mean pain, in terms of physical, chronic pain. More about death, terminally ill children…..there are things that I don’t understand the reason.It’s hard for me to say that 9/11 or a plan crash or a tsunami is something that was supposed to happen…..what do you say? I’m learning from you and thank you. Laurie F.


    • Laurie,
      I do not think it is all SUPPOSE to happen. I believe we have free will and choose whether to do good or do evil. I do believe that when ANYTHING happens there is something that needs to be learned. It is only a catastrophe or suffering if nothing is learned. We will have regrets and guilt if nothing is learned. We are here to learn to come from love and wisdom and compassion – all else is meaningless.


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