Pain is real, but so is hope

How did you feel, when your favourite coffee mug just fell down in front of your eyes? When you lost the game you had been practising rigorously for the past few months? When you sit back on the couch and everything going on in your life seems to be unavailing and eccentric for a while.

We come across so many instances in our lives wherein ‘pain’ absorbs us. Going over and over the unpleasant or disappointing experiences in your life, whether real or imagined, take its toll on your well-being. Like a scar that you pick at over and over again, it will leave a permanent mark unless you learn how to stop.

When you’re thwarted in your ability to reach a goal or get rejected by someone, your self-esteem is bound to take a hit. The hurt you feel in these circumstances can be traced to the loss of face that accompanies mistakes and breakups.

In addressing the problem of failure head on, it is always advised to seek support from those closest to you who can help you gain perspective on the situation. They may also help you “get real,” and stimulate you to recognize that even though you may have failed in this one area of your life, it doesn’t mean that you are a complete failure in all the areas of life. By talking to someone else, you may also get the perspective you need so that you can look for a silver lining in the experience. Simply these people give you something called ‘Hope’- the very thing necessary to battle with the demon of pain and attain victory over it.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy proposes that emotional change follows from changes in thoughts and behaviour. Rather than becoming mired in emotional self-doubts, worry, and sadness, you can take actions that will help you see the world, and yourself, in a more positive light.

Psychologists have proposed lots of different vehicles over the years that drive you straight to the destination of a self-sustained life. Grit, Conscientiousness, Self-efficacy, Optimism, Passion, Inspiration, etc., are all important. One vehicle, however, is particularly undervalued and underappreciated in psychology and society.

That’s hope. Findings have shown that hope plays a surprisingly potent role in giving people a measurable advantage in realms as diverse as academic achievement, bearing up in onerous jobs and coping with tragic illness.

Hope is something that always keeps you alive and strikes you new ideas and solutions to every problem.

The point of relation between pain and hope has been best explained by Samuel Johnson as, “Hope itself is a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords; but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, and the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain.”

No matter what life throws at you, we all have the power within to overcome and that power inside the veil of Hope is as real as pain seems to be.


-Isha Mathur