Existential Psychology

No Pain No Gain

By  | 

Whatever it is you are trying to accomplish, if it’s worthwhile there is going to be pain involved. Whether this pain is physical, emotional, or psychological depends on the pursuit of course, but regardless of the type, pain makes us doubt whether we should continue what we’re doing.

Therefore it’s worth thinking about pain philosophically by first considering the physical. There is ‘good’ pain and ‘bad’ pain, a fact that any athlete knows all too well. The line is sometimes razor thin, but the difference is that the good pain builds muscle mass, increases endurance, makes you healthier, and helps you along your journey by increasing your overall fitness where the bad pain is your body’s warning signal telling you a serious injury is about to occur. One propels you forward while the other holds you back.

We can make this parallel for psychological and emotional pain as well. What you really want to ask yourself is if the pain you are feeling seems to be generally helping you or hindering you as you move towards your goal. Do you feel refreshed and invigorated afterwards, as you would after a good workout, or completely deflated? Are you becoming stronger, sharper, and more able to confront all of the challenges in front of you or less?

The no pain no gain mantra is a good one as long as we keep in mind that there is a huge difference between good pain and bad pain, and that the bad type will do you a lot more harm than doing nothing at all. If you’re mindful during the process you’ll be able to differentiate good pain and bad pain in the emotional and psychological realms just as you’re able to differentiate good pain and bad pain in the physical realm now.