Forgiveness Self-help tools Spiritual Growth

How to Grow From Painful Experiences

May 25, 2016

Sometimes we have little control over the difficult experiences we are faced with, especially as children. But we always have a choice over how to respond. 

learn from experience

I’m here to talk to you about learning from painful moments, overcoming them and becoming stronger as a result.

History Repeats Itself Unless we Learn From It

Why is it that two siblings can be brought up in the same home, raised by the same parents who are addicted to alcohol or some other substance, and one child follows in their parents’ footsteps and becomes an addict, whereas the other chooses a totally new route to life?

It’s a question I’ve wondered many times and I don’t believe the answer is black and white. But I do know that everyone handles things differently, there’s no doubt about it. Does it mean that one is stronger than the other? Most certainly not; addiction is not for the faint hearted and anyone that has been affected by it, in any way whatsoever, will know that it is incredibly tough all-round.

Studies will tell you that if you come from a broken home, or grew up with an alcoholic or drug-addicted parent, the odds are stacked against you, and you’re pretty much doomed to fail. I don’t listen to those kinds of stats, and maybe you shouldn’t either. After all, you and I are both unique individuals, we’re not stats, and we can all defy the odds, no matter what our background. No amount of research can predict how your life will be, only you have the power to do that. 

I don’t believe anyone has ever willingly chosen to be an addict, especially given the consequences it causes. But I do believe that people could avoid falling into self-destructive habits and choose another route, if they took lessons from painful experiences. 

The majority of us have been affected by addiction of some sort, which is why I use it as an example but we can also learn lessons through many other experiences. Every single painful moment you have endured hasn’t been for nothing, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and about life when we go through suffering.

What can Loss Teach Us?

Take loss. Most of us have experienced it at some level. Did you learn from it? What did it teach you? My most painful moments were spent grieving but some of my best moments happened once I’d healed. Loss taught me that life’s short. It taught me how to appreciate and love the people around me, because they won’t be here forever. And it also taught me that we each leave a huge mark on those that we love, long after we are gone.

Looking inward during times of difficulty is not something we tend to do naturally, we often look outside for blame, for answers and for healing. And yet, if we looked inside and searched for ways to grow off the back of a difficult situation, we would find many.

Ultimately, what happens on the outside is often out of our control but search inside and we can find many answers, along with inner peace, love and support from none other than ourselves.

Mistakes can be the Greatest Teacher

Mistakes too can teach us a lot about ourselves and how to deal with circumstances in the future. 

One of the reasons our mistakes may haunt us is because we might feel we cannot undo what has been done; it’s out of our hands. This mindset, however, is one that clings to the past and replays painful moments in our minds, which causes further suffering.

When we realise we can learn from loss, failure, and indeed our mistakes, we are given a level of control over how we move on. Taking them as lessons, and experiencing growth because of it, helps carry us into the future with more wisdom and courage than ever before.

It’s safe to say that we are all faced with painful experiences from time-to-time but it is during these moments that we are offered times of growth and self-realisation. 

Lessons are great teachers. We may find ourselves facing the same problems repeatedly until we learn from the issues at hand. If you have been involved in negative recurring patterns – we all have at some point – it’s worth considering whether there is a lesson to be learnt.

Every day we are given new opportunities to learn from our experiences. It is of course up to us whether to look inward and learn, or outward and blame. But one thing that is universally felt is this; there is nothing more powerful than a lesson learned through experience. 

What has been your biggest lesson? Let us know below. 

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