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Rohling with the Punches: The 5 brightsides I’ve found to pain

Pretty much everyone goes through hard scenarios in their life. It's no secret: going through hard things can be a bit of a burden, depending on what it is and how you look at it. The good news is that pain is a part of life, and to experience it is a reminder that you're living a full life. As author Glennon Doyle said, "You can do hard things." Here are five things I learned after going through hell and back multiple times:


When you experience something gut-wrenching, it's usually easier to get through if you're not alone. If you have a shoulder to cry on, an ear to talk to or a person to hug, having someone there for you can help alleviate the pain. In turn, you can also be there for others who are hurting because you know what it's like. Pain makes us softer. It's better to be hurt than hardened. 

One of my favorite quotes about this is: "Is suffering necessary? Yes and no. If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion … Suffering cracks open the shell of the ego, and then comes the point when it has served its purpose. Suffering is necessary until you realize it is not necessary." – Eckhart Tolle.

It gives you a story

As the band Arcade Fire said in its song "Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)," "But a life without pain would be boring." It's true. If you were to go through life without hardships, pain or any difficult experiences, you'd be a pretty boring person. 

Trauma causes us pain, but it gives us a story. As for me, I'm writing a book about what I went through at one point in my life. If I didn't go through this terrible thing, I wouldn't have as solid of a story topic, if even one at all. My pain gave me the opportunity to write a book about it. That is undoubtedly a bright side.

Accomplishments bare more weight 

If you were to go through life always getting everything you ever wanted, it'd get old. When you go through hell and back and then accomplish something? That's more impressive. 


Trauma gives us the opportunity for triumph in our lives. It gives you the chance to come out the other side a better version of yourself. The lessons you learn from it add to your life.

You become better

Along with the theme of triumph, pain can make you better in various ways. As discussed earlier, it can make you more empathetic. Trauma changes you, but in no way does it have to be a negative change. My trauma allowed me to look closely at who I am and become a better, more improved version of myself. 

I do not believe everything happens for a reason, but reasons can be created for the things that do. I also don't think bad things happen just because the terrible things that happen to us put us directly on the path to the most wonderful things to ever happen to us. Perhaps a bad thing had to happen so you could meet your favorite person. Or maybe a terrible thing had to happen so you'd find your dream job.

As author Matt Haig said in his book, "Reasons to Stay Alive," "But it is always hard for us to see the future inside the present, even when it is right there in front of us."

Olivia Rohling is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Tweet Olivia @olivia_rohling

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