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Thank God for pain

Three weeks ago, I was unfortunate enough to suffer a tooth abscess. Ordinarily this would have been uncomfortable for a day or two until the antibiotics kicked in and then it would have gone away. The dentist would deal with anything untoward, problem solved.

However, unfortunately for me, this was the fifth abscess in under 12 months and a build up of infection literally knocked me off my feet for three weeks. I was poorly beyond belief.

Three weeks is a long time to be feeling very poorly indeed, and I did, at times, get a bit down. One thing above all else kept me going, and that was that everything comes to an end at some point. It might not have been as soon as I’d liked, but it still came to an end.

On the first day in nearly eight days, I felt well enough to venture outside, even if it was just to our local shop. I went through my habitual ‘dressing for the outside’ ritual, putting on my coat and scarf but as I slid a foot into my shoe, I was suddenly so acutely aware of how good it actually felt to wear a proper shoe rather than slippers. An outside shoe meant fresh air, freedom and good health at that moment in time. Prior to this, putting on an outside shoe meant absolutely nothing to me. I had become as guilty as many other people in getting caught up with the unimportant things, and in doing so I had become blinkered to the simple things that mean so much.

Antony Robbins once said that all problems are relative. One might get upset at putting a dent in their car. They may hold that upset for quite a time until they get made redundant from work maybe. The dent in the car then suddenly becomes irrelevant because there is a much bigger, more pressing problem to overcome. This may consume them until a bigger problem comes along, like the ailing health of a close relative. Lack of work then falls down the list of important things to worry about.

These fundamental things are always there though aren’t they? They don’t disappear from our lives, we just stop noticing them until they are under threat of being taken from us against our will.

The thing is, that we have a choice about what we take notice of. We can choose to notice everything that is not right in our lives or we can focus on all of the important, fundamental things that we already have. Things that, if they were suddenly not there anymore, we would miss like crazy.

Richard Branson has created many businesses from having bad experiences because he knows that he could do better. Until he had those bad experiences, I’m pretty sure that the businesses he later created were not even a fleeting thought. ┬áSomething good always comes out of something bad, even if we don’t realise it at the time. It is there, if only you choose to see it.

Pain, be it physical or emotional can be a great resource for you if you allow it to be. We can fall into the trap of walking around with a magnifying glass attached to our eyes, only really stopping to focus on what isn’t right in our lives, at what others have got that we should have or at our pains and discomforts. The reality is that for most of us, the pains and discomforts are such a tiny part of our lives but we make them so big and so overwhelming that we sometimes cannot see, hear or feel anything else. But the ‘anything else’ is still there isn’t it? It hasn’t gone away. It is simply sitting there gathering dust until we remove the magnifying glass and notice it again.

So my question to you is: What have you been not noticing for far longer than you should? What and who do you have around you that, if they suddenly weren’t there anymore, you would miss more than anything?

If answers sprung into your mind whilst reading those questions then maybe it’s time to put the magnifying glass on them instead. You might be surprised at how differently it makes you, and them feel.

Be happy and live with purpose :-)

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