“Learn to sustain the pain you’ve chosen. When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain into your life. Relish it. Savour it. Welcome it with open arms. Then act despite it.” — Mark Manson
I love this quote for anyone making a big change in life. Starting a new business? Going back to school after years in the work world? Retraining for a whole new career?
Whatever change you’re making, you’re trading one kind of pain for another … at least in the short term.
It’s so important for us to be aware that no change we make will result in that elusive perfect life. There will always be difficult days and challenges in our path. But Manson’s point is that at least those hard days and obstacles will MATTER. Because we’re doing something that MATTERS to us. And when that’s our reality, there are deep wells of energy we can draw from to tackle the hard times.
What makes the new pain worth suffering — if you’ve chosen your new path carefully and with a deep awareness of what matters most to you — is that what you’re doing aligns with who you truly are.
So perhaps you have to alter the family budget for a while as you go back to school and leave the corporate world behind. Your new pain may be fewer dinners out, one vacation per year instead of two or three, not quite as many shopping sprees. That new fence may have to wait a year or two, as will replacing the sagging sofa in your living room.
These sacrifices can really hurt. Our pride hurts, because we’re used to contributing financially to the success of our families. We may be frightened, wondering if and when things will ever be as good as they once were for us, money-wise. Perhaps our partners agree to pick up the slack, full of good intentions, then become worried as the months go by and they watch the bank account slipping.
Or maybe you’ve started a new business venture, and it’s taking up all of your time — you’re putting in 70-hour weeks and haven’t seen your kids in days. You find yourself looking back with rose-coloured glasses at those cushy 37.5-hour weeks you used to work … in a job you hated.
Relish this pain. Savour it. For two reasons. One; this time will pass and it will get easier. And two; this is exactly where you are meant to be. This pain is the pain you have chosen, based on the values you’ve embraced as your own.
If you know who you are and what your deepest-held values are, you will choose your path based on wisdom and meaning.
And your new pain, whatever it may be, will be suffused with purpose. So “welcome it with open arms.” And keep moving forward.