How to Turn Your Pain Into Your Purpose
by Coach Michael Taylor
I have come to believe that there are only two things that will cause a person to want to change his/her behavior. Before I share the two reasons, I'd like to share a quote from Carl Jung that substantiates my belief. "There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."
As mentioned, there are two things that will cause a person to change and the first thing is pain and the second thing is divine discontent.
Without question, pain is the primary catalyst for change. Inner pain will manifest itself in a myriad of external ways but ultimately it is our inner pain that drives us to make changes in our lives. Outer pain can show up as failed relationships, divorce, depression, job loss, addictions and even suicide. Unfortunately, most people do not recognize their inner pain until the outer pain becomes so great that they must begin looking inward for the source of that pain.
My life is a perfect example of this. Back in 1989 I had gone through a divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure and a deep state of depression. Amazingly, I didn’t identify it as pain at that time. Although my life was in total chaos I didn’t connect it with emotional pain. Like too many people, I chalked it up to temporary bad luck and attempted everything I could to try and alleviate the pain. I worked harder, read more books, went to motivational seminars and even tried meditation. But no matter what I tried I simply could not alleviate the pain I was in. Eventually my pain became so great that I only had two choices. Get help, or die. There was a point in my life when I considered the latter but fortunately for me I chose to live.
Once I made that choice a few miraculous things happened. The first miracle occurred late one night while I was sitting up trying to figure out how I was going to get my life back on track. As I was sitting on my bed looking across the room at my bookshelf, I noticed that all of the books on the shelf had something to do with making money. I had invested lots of time and energy trying to get rich and my selection of books were a testament to that commitment. But as I sat there staring at the books this question just popped in my head.
The question came in what I can only describe as a voiceless voice. I now recognize that this voice was the voice of my own inner wisdom and I would even describe it as the voice of my higher self. This higher self posed a question that would change my life in an instant. Here is what it asked: “Michael, what if you took all of the energy and effort you’ve used in trying to get rich and simply learn how to be happy?” As simplistic as it sounds, this question literally changed my life in an instant. Something in me shifted and all of a sudden my depression temporarily lifted and I felt a sense of optimism and hope that I hadn’t felt in a very long time.
The second miracle occurred a few days later as I was sitting up late one night watching television. There was a commercial that came on about depression and as I watched it I recognized that I had all of the symptoms it mentioned. Up until that point I didn’t recognize that I was depressed but after watching the commercial I finally was able to identify what I believed to be the source of my pain.
This led me to gaining the courage to go to therapy and finally addressing the origins of my pain. As I worked with the therapist I learned that my traumatic childhood was the true cause of the majority of pain in my life. I had to be willing to heal my childhood wounds and let go of my feelings of shame and unworthiness if I truly wanted to free myself from emotional pain and I made the commitment to myself to do just that.
During my work with the therapist I learned a powerful acronym for pain, which was, Pay Attention Inside Now. I learned that pain was a great teacher and by allowing myself to feel my pain it always directed me to look inside of myself for the true cause of my pain instead of looking outside of myself for external things to blame my pain on. It taught me that what I could feel I could heal.
The most important work that I participated in was the work of a man named John Bradshaw. (Mr. Bradshaw unfortunately passed away on May 8 th 2016 and I was deeply saddened by his passing.) His work was the most transformational work of my life. He conducted a workshop called Inner Child Work and it was definitely the catalyst for me truly letting go of my childhood trauma. During the workshop I learned the distinction between transformation and motivation. What I learned was that I was always highly motivated but my motivation was actually driven by a deep sense of shame. He called it “toxic shame” and for me it was the driving force of my life. By healing my childhood wounds I was able to literally “transform” my pain and as a result, I became emotionally free from my childhood trauma.
My childhood pain was the reason that no matter how many motivational courses I took or motivational books I had read I still felt as if something was wrong with me. To compensate for these feelings of unworthiness I became very successful. I’m reminded of the quote that I mentioned from Carl Jung, “People will do anything, no matter how absurd to avoid facing their own Soul.” Staying motivated was a way of avoiding my own Soul. By engaging in the inner child work I made the darkness conscious and removed it with the light of truth. As a result, I can honestly say that in this very moment I am happier now that I’ve ever been in my life. Was it easy? Absolutely not! Was it worth it? It definitely was!
I mentioned that the second thing that will cause a person to change is divine discontent. This simply means that there is a feeling that something just isn’t right with your life. It’s difficult to explain, but it is an inner knowing that something needs to change. Fortunately for me I healed my pain and decided to listen to the divine discontent within and it has guided me to not only healing my heart but also it help me find my true life’s purpose. As I look back in retrospect I can see just how perfect the painful experiences I had were. Every painful experience taught me something about myself that I can now use to help me fulfill my divine purpose.
So if you’re currently feeling trapped or stuck in your own life right now remember the acronym, PAIN ~Pay Attention Inside Now. Learn to listen to and trust that still small voice within you and it will guide you and support you in turning your pain into your purpose.
Coach Michael Taylor is an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and radio show host who has dedicated his life to empowering men and women to reach their full potential. He knows firsthand how to overcome adversity and build a rewarding and fulfilling life and he is sharing his knowledge and wisdom with others to support them in creating the life of their dreams. He is the author of Adversity Is Your Greatest Ally, Black Men Rock, A New Conversation with Men, and Brothers, Are You Listening?. For more information please visit: http://bmracademy.com/.