Pain: Keeping humans, human
What’s the Point of Pain?
Pain, unwanted but necessary, if only to keep our egos in check. The breaker of barriers, the great glue of humanity.
I can’t relate to the lifestyle of the rich and famous, neither can I understand what it’s like to be homeless. But I can relate to people suffering. Nobody’s life is pain-free or devoid of any tribulation. Life presents to each of us, a set of challenges to overcome.
When Being Ill Twists Pain Into Some Kind of Sick Competition
Some of us who suffer more than others due to chronic illnesses even turn it into some kind of sick game. “Let’s see who can endure the most pain.” “Let’s see which one of us is the toughest.” I gave up playing this game, because there is nothing to win, nothing to prove. You endured the most pain, so what? Pain was only toying with you while half-awake.
You advance to the next level. Now it’s “Let’s see who has more illnesses to their name.” “I suffer more than you do, so your pain is invalid.” It’s hard not to get sucked into this dark hole. It can be annoying when you see someone who has ‘less’ problems complaining about them. But that is where I’m in the wrong. We are human, we adapt to what we have. If they were in my shoes, they’d do what I was doing too. I am not stronger than anyone else.
I Can’t and I Can Relate
I can’t relate to the party animal who lives his life on the fast lane, but I can relate to his grief over the death of a loved one. I can’t relate to the disabled girl in the wheelchair, but I can relate to the hurt she feels from being dumped. I can’t relate to the old man past retirement age clearing trays at the hawker centre, but I understand what it’s like to lack vitality and money.
We are all different, with varying quirks and polar dislikes. But emotion is a humane constant, which allows us to understand another human being from any culture. No matter your language, religion, education level or take on politics, you know what it feels like to be happy, or sad.
We’re All Made of Flesh and Blood
We are all the same deep down inside, but pain has the deepest roots of them all. It forces us to face our mortality, and realise that we’re no different from anyone else. It forces us to slow down and gives us time to think — sometimes a little too much time. It teaches us empathy and kindness, because we’ve been on that boat. It brings us together as human beings, because it strips us bare, and forces us to light a collective fire. That common bond of survival creates the greatest friendships. These are people I trust the most. Happiness can incur envy; enduring pain may bring about admiration, but nobody wants to be in those shoes.