Why does pain exist? I mean, why do our bodies experience pain? What reason does it serve? The obvious answer is to protect us, right? To tell our brains to run when in danger from a harmful subject?

The actual definition of pain, defined from a TED-ed by Karen D. Davis is, “an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” This TED-ed video also explains, what they call the “pain experience” and how nociceptors send signals to the nervous system and then the brain when the body or mind is in danger. This activates the salience network controlling what you should pay attention to, so that you don’t get burned when you touch something hot, for example. There are also chemical systems that release endorphins and enkephalins to dull the pain. These chemicals are also released during intense exercise, hence where the ‘runners high’ comes from (I thought that part was cool).

Anyways, science is great and all for using big words at dinner parties but it is useless for normal people if we don’t dive deeper and find the philosophical balance between what we know, what could be and what we don’t know that already is. Really think about why we experience pain. Think back to how we have evolved as humans and how evolution, natural selection and the power of nature itself has brought us to where we are today. Everything in our human nature, that has been developed through the (I think) 6ish million years our human related species have been on earth, are there for a reason. The only thing rationally accepted to be that reason is survival. Everything wants to survive. Back in the day our pain, or imminent pain, would be a saber tooth tiger or poisonous plant. The lifestyle we know today has only been apart of human history for 0.001% (What Happened Before History? Human Origins by Kurzgesagt, In a Nutshell). Therefore, the different kind of pain we experience now is still trying to help us survive, telling us that if we don’t get our shit together then we are going to fucking die, not from a saber tooth tiger, but from the fucking tax collectors.

Look at pain from a more enlightened perspective. Look at it as a lesson. It is trying to teach you something for the overall betterment of your future. It is not there to make you feel sad or bad about yourself but rather trying to show you and open your eyes to what you may need to fix in order to stop the pain from continuing. When you’re in deep pain or discomfort it may be hard to find the lesson, but practise it. Practise finding that silver lining and eventually it will become brighter and brighter. You might even get used to putting yourself in ‘painful’ situations so that you can learn something new about yourself, life, etc. and become a better person because of it. Ray Dalio, “Pain + Reflection = Progress” (Principles by Ray Dalio, highly recommend). But Remember, “Lessons not learned in blood, are soon forgotten” (Law Abiding Citizen (sweet movie)), derived from a happier quote, “Lessons that come easy are not lessons at all. They are gracious acts of luck. Yet lessons learned the hard way are lessons never forgotten.” Don Williams, Jr.

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