You know how your hands hurt after that day when there are endless leaves to rake. Your hands hurt. Your skin has been rubbed raw from the repetitive motion of moving the rake back and forth. At the end of that day you look at your hands and see that there are gaping wounds. You look forward to that shower to feel fresh and clean but as the water hits your hands you’re left with a burning sensation.
The next day comes and you commit to continue doing the very activity that hurt you. Maybe it is a dedication to a new life choice, like getting in shape. What would be at the core of that goal? Joining a gym and lifting weights? Day one as your hands meet the barbell and dumbbells for the first time your hands will be sore. You will have blisters. Maybe some raw skin. It’s painful, but you’re committed to this goal. Day two your hands still hurt. Day three is more of the same, but at some point, this all changes.
You no longer notice raw skin and blisters. When you jump into the shower the water no longer burns. You look at your hands and your sensitive skin has been replaced with tough calluses.
When you think about these calluses is it an ugly deformity now as a result of your action or do you wear them with pride? Perhaps you think of these as a souvenir of everything you have accomplished.
There is another type of callus that you may not have thought about yet. The emotional calluses.
Think about your life’s experiences. The good and the bad. Which experiences have you grown more from? What have you learned about yourself?
If you’re anything like me, you learned from the bad experiences. The days when you were begging, pleading and stealing to pay that debt. Or when you had to swallow your pride and ask for help.
For the longest time I couldn’t ask for help. I didn’t want to need someone’s assistance. My pride let me suffer far longer than I should have.
After transitioning out of the military it was a challenge adjusting to civilian life. Things didn’t make sense to me. I was at the top of my game. I oversaw almost 100 troops. I’ve been deployed multiple times. I had a title and responsibility. I was someone. So, why was civilian life so difficult?
Eventually I asked for help and was shocked about what I found. There were people that care about me that were more than willing to help. Despite this experience I still found that it was a challenge to admit that I need help. Even something as simple as moving to a new house I was trying to do it all myself.
After much reflection I realized that I was the reason why I was suffering. I’m not sure who originally came up with this quote, but it resonated with me. “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.
How do you respond to the pain in your life? Do you choose to wallow in it and let yourself suffer for days on end? Or do you accept the pain, learn from it and move forward?
This is the territory where emotional calluses are built. On the surface what you’re going through might not be fun. You might even be dreading it. But what are you learning from this experience? What type of person are you going to be on the other end?
Our life’s experiences aren’t always fun but what can you learn? What is the purpose behind the pain? Lean into the experience and grow. Come out better on the other side with the toughest callouses that someone can have. Be ready to take on that next experience and do better.
Friends shoot me a message and tell me about your experiences. I would love to hear about what you have learned and how your stronger now. Or if you’re in the middle of some pain lets talk about how to approach that pain so we can grow. Remember there is pain involved in growth but it’s worth it in the end. Live Bold!!!!