Pain: The Universal Motivator

What have you done in the name of pain? How has it gotten you up off your butt and spurred you into action?

People, by nature, will live their lives doing the same things again and again with little or no change. If things are comfortable, why make a change? I know I wouldn’t.

So, how do you know when something needs to change? How do you know it’s time to repaint a room, get rid of a bunch of clothing, buy a new car, move on from a relationship, change a big part of your daily routine like how you eat, or leave a job?

You go by how you feel. And using feelings as a barometer, the lower the air pressure and the more stormy the weather becomes, the more uncomfortable your feelings get, the more likely you are to make a change.

Why do we even experience emotional pain in the first place? We know that physical pain helps us to stay alive. If you touch a hot burner, feeling the pain allows you to remove your hand from being burned further, protecting the physical body. But what about our emotional pain?

I think our emotional pain serves as contrast to show us what we don’t want, so we have the opportunity to move toward what we do want, what feels better. Going on the assumption that one of our base needs is to know that we matter, that we are important, (otherwise what’s the point of being here?), how we discover that we matter is through connection. Connection to other people, and what is often overlooked: connection to the divine.

Depression is the emotional pain that comes up when we become disconnected from the divine. It is the ultimate feeling that we don’t matter in the eyes of our creator. It is the ultimate disconnection from ourselves, from the creator energy that made us, that we come from and are still a part of. We separate from ourselves. And if we don’t matter or aren’t important to ourselves (our God selves), why be here at all? What’s the antidote? Connection to the divine. Knowing deeply that this energy that spawned us, that we are actually still connected to, this complete and total unconditional love, has never gone away and never will. It’s still there, sitting in a shadow, waiting for us.

How do we make this connection? Through our heart. Getting quiet inside, going into your heart and listening, you will be able to connect to that part of you that is source. And you’ll know it by how it talks to you. The language is always of complete acceptance and love. No judgment or criticism. One hundred percent total support.

As above, so below. What are our biggest emotional pains? That we aren’t seen or heard by those closest around us. When you are very little, if you don’t matter, you are left to die. You learn conditions that you must adhere to in order to continue to matter to those around you who take care of you. Mother nature helps out a bit, especially when you are an infant, by flooding the mother of a newborn with hormones that drive her to love and want to protect her baby.

Children naturally follow their internal guidance system of emotions, following those which feel good and steering away from those that feel uncomfortable. It is through interacting with society, our families and schools and other places we spend a lot of time, that we slowly are conditioned to not follow our guidance system. We are taught to do other than what we feel. In fact, we are often taught to act in direct opposition to what are feelings are telling us. This discord causes emotional pain.

Fear also causes emotional pain. Fear of disconnection. Fear of not being important or worthy of another’s attention. Fear that we don’t matter. Fear of death. Actually, I believe our fear that we don’t matter and the pain this causes is stronger than our fear of death. Evidence: suicide.

So, we go through life and become conditioned to accept a certain amount of emotional pain, usually knowing that it will be short-lived. We learn to do what others want us to do and expect us to do because we learn that doing what they want means receiving praise and other rewards. And NOT doing what they want brings on the pain. Pain of loss and disconnection. Losing toys and privileges. Losing love and attention and approval.

After being conditioned to live with a certain amount of pain, what happens when that which our internal compass, our intuition is telling us comes in conflict with what’s going on in our life? We tend to ignore the messages our intuition tells us, because we don’t like change. Change tends to be uncomfortable because it’s stepping into the unknown.

We weigh pros and cons of making a change versus not changing. We might want more room for our growing family. To make this happen, it might mean having an addition put on our house, or moving to a bigger house. We weigh the pros and cons of making either of these changes versus do nothing. Can we afford to move or have an addition made? With personal space becoming an issue, how badly do we want more room?

If you ignore little messages (and not so little) about someone you are in a relationship with, and things start to go south, change needs to happen. But we don’t like change so we put up with the pain. And over time, if no changes are made, the pain comes more often and with more weight. Eventually, our backs break or come close to breaking, and we finally take action.

We keep ignoring our inner wisdom, not changing, and at some point, the amount of pain caused by the discord between what we know we should be doing, and not doing it, becomes unbearable. If we can learn to pay attention and trust that the hints and whispers that come to us are here for our greatest good, maybe we’ll be able to steer around the big pain, or work our way through it with more grace and ease.

So why is it that we seem to require large amounts of pain in order to make changes in our lives? I think it’s because we haven’t been taught to tune into our internal guidance systems so we can make smaller changes early on when they aren’t so painful. We think we need loud neon signs telling us what to do. We are not taught to trust and honor those little messages in the back of our heads that come to us in a whisper or a flash. They are often very subtle, so we blow them off. Sometimes, when this discord gets so big that you are straying too far off you’re life’s path, the Universe steps in and gives you opportunities to get back on track. How? A herniated disc, a broken foot, acid reflux, diabetes and depression. These are all big opportunities for change. If we don’t take the opportunity, what do we get? More opportunities! … until we get the freaking message and create change!


Why do we constantly use pain to motivate our children? Because they haven’t built up tolerance for it and respond to it quickly. I hate that we systematically train our children to ignore their intuition and tolerate larger and larger amounts of pain. I see the more compliant a child is when they’re little, the less likely they honor their internal guidance system when they grow up. And we all know how that can go.


About mariner2mother

I'm a mother of a creative 19 year old son, a former merchant ship's deck officer, and a wife. To feed my creative side I take photos. I am also Reiki attuned and am a student of Energy Healing, having used several healing modalities to work on myself and my family. My most recent adventure has me navigating a very challenging Kundalini Awakening.
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10 Responses to Pain: The Universal Motivator

  1. janonlife says:

    This is a brilliant post, Susan. Quite ‘painful’ to read in places – because it’s so absolutely true!
    You have a gift for helping others to see commonplace things in such a new way, and opening your readers up to different ways of experiencing life. Thank you 🙂

  2. CBurns says:

    Thank you for taking the time to put out this post. Alot of things hit home. I’m being nudged all over the place today about pain!! Another reading for me this morning said “Pain is not a punishment. It is a call to become conscious to raise your hidden suffering into awareness.”
    Seek & ye shall find….I’m grateful for all the messages today!

  3. candidkay says:

    Oh, this is such a good one. I have learned, as I age, to listen to my intuition. Even when it doesn’t make sense, it directs me to change at the right time (sometimes kicking and screaming:)). And yet, it’s still hard when I can’t see the runway lit up like a Christmas tree. Sigh.

    • I’m glad you like it. You inspired me to write it. Yup, it sure is easier to recognize intuition when it’s loud and clear (that happened to me a very few times). And I’m getting more practiced at seeing when I missed it because it was quick as a wink and merely a whisper. Thanks for reading.

  4. Aussa Lorens says:

    Wow. This was incredible and just what I needed. I’m dealing with (imagine this: even more!) drama with my Mother. Everything you said hit home and helps affirm what I already know I need to do. Thank you for this.

    • Thanks Aussa. I’m glad it was meaningful to you. Regarding drama with your mother, hand in there and remember that her shit is just that: HER shit. My mother taught me a butt-ton in all her bipolar delusions and paranoia. And all of it really sucked at the time, especially when she’d verbally attack me. I took it much better as an adult than I did as a toddler and young girl. I need to write more about some recent hypnosis sessions because a lot of what I’m working out stems back to her verbal abuse of me as a child, and the healing has been amazing.

  5. Pingback: Time For A New Voyage Plan | Life Is A Journey… Not A Guided Tour

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