…someday this pain will be useful to you.

The quote in the title of this post (at least according to the Internet, so therein lies my disclaimer) is supposedly attributed to Ovid, an ancient poet. The words resonate deeply with many; there are many forms of pain, and everyone has experienced pain of some sort in their lifetime.

Pain can be crippling. It can also be empowering. Your attitudes towards the pain determines which effect is predominant in your life.

It may not seem likely that physical pain could be useful, especially if that pain is caused by illness, injury, or stress. Those arthritic knuckles? That aching neck, fractured in a car accident? That headache brought on by the two-hour conference meeting? All of these can be helpful if you allow them to be. Physical pain, especially chronic pain, can strengthten your tolerance to less debilitating pain. For instance, after a recent surgery, I recovered from the majority of the pain fairly quickly, having become accustomed to days or even weeks at a time in which my body decided to attack my joints.

Emotional pain can be equally crippling. Whether from heartbreak, mental illness, bullying, or any number of offenses, emotional pain can be harnessed into creative outlets. Some of society’s greatest works of art and literature have emerged from the pains of authors, poets, painters, and sculptors who chose to channel their pain into whichever medium best suits their talents.

Never allow pain to stop you from living.

Pain doesn’t have to be an impenetrable wall of agony. Instead, consider pain more of a speedbump on the way to something greater.