I remember that, when I was a child, any time that I had some unexplained pain with no apparent cause my mom would say that I was just experiencing growing pains and that the pain would go away soon. She was usually right and that advice saved lots of unneeded trips to the doctor. I still get unexplained pains from time to time, but now at the other end of life’s cycle it is hard to explain them away as growing pains. They are just “getting old” pains, I guess.
Many of life’s “growing pains” actually involve not physical pains, but emotional ones. These are the pains of disappointments or failed relationships; sometimes the pain of dealing with hurtful comments or actions and sometimes the pain of leaving behind destructive relationships that didn’t work out the way that one had hoped. Yes, they all hurt; but, we live through the pain and come out the other side better off. We have “grown” emotionally and intellectually by adding to our experience base. Once we get to the place where we can look back upon the experience with a little less emotion we are able to see our own errors and make mental notes for the future on things to avoid or things to do differently. We had some growing pains.
While growing pains are most common in the young, they are really with us all of our lives. As we age and learn, we may make fewer mistakes that come back to cause us pain. Maybe we become a little more cautious, hopefully without becoming cynical, about relationships. Perhaps we become more realistic about “changing him (or her)” before we get into a relationship with someone with noticeable faults. Maybe, as we become more comfortable with whom we are, we are less inclined to blame ourselves for things that the other person does or says. Maybe we learn to love ourselves first and then are better able to love others. We’ve been through some growing pains.
That last little bit above is one of the keys to a happy life. You must learn to love yourself. You must be comfortable being alone with yourself and not need constant reassurance of your worth from others. I know people, and you may know some too, who just cannot stand to be alone. They really don’t like themselves and need to have others around all the time. That’s a shame, because we spend all of our lives with ourselves and share but a few moments with others. For some, even sharing those few moments is really hard. It’s a real conundrum for those people – they cannot stand to be alone, but they do not trust enough to let others in. For them having others around all the time provides the crowd into which they feel safe just disappearing. For them life is full of growing pains.
So, the next time you experience some growing pains in your life, take the time to reflect on what just happened; be happy that, while it may have hurt at the time, it didn’t kill you. You’re still standing and the pain is subsiding. Make a memory out of it and learn from that memory. Promise yourself that you won’t make that same mistake again, but don’t let the memory of that pain harden you against the future emotional risks of realtionships. Life is full of those opportunities most of them work out great but a few turn out to be just growing pains.
Momma was right; the pain goes away; the key is to keep growing. Have a great day!