The last couple of weeks we have been talking about being uncomfortable and how change requires at least a little bit of discomfort. Something we want to call out is that discomfort is a type of pain. It is telling your body, mind, and spirit that you are working hard at something, that you are doing something differently.
There are several types of pain, we will focus on 2 of them: the pain of growth and the pain of injury. Pain is a form of information. It is telling us something. Most of the time, pain tells us to stop what we are doing because it hurts or is uncomfortable. Sometimes, the answer is to do whatever you are doing anyway, despite the pain. Sometimes, the answer is to stop and heal.
Look at the different kinds of pain we feel in our bodies. We feel pain when we work out or change our diets. It is uncomfortable and might actually physically hurt. Running a mile for the first time hurts in your lungs, your legs, your whole body. Quitting sugar might lead to headaches and/or irritability as you detox. These are okay kinds of pain. This pain is pure information that something uncomfortable is happening in your body. It is okay that it’s uncomfortable.
Now, the other kind of pain, the pain of injury, is different. This is the difference between running further than you have before and breaking a leg—pain in the same area (legs), different kind of pain. The pain of injury requires different things. You should not keep running or even walking on a broken leg until it is healed enough to do so.
This is the same in our lives as well. We need to learn the difference between growing pain and injury pains. Growing pains require grit and perseverance to keep going. Injury pains require rest, asking for help, and being willing to heal. Pains of growth mean “keep going,” pains of injury mean “STOP”.
When you are feeling pain, uncomfortableness, or even exhaustion, ask yourself, “What kind of pain am I experiencing?”