“F-E-A-R: has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.” – Zig Ziglar

I’ve had a sore on my foot for months. At first, I used callus removers, and lavender foot soaks to try to get rid of it. One day I would think it was healing and the next it would be worse. Walking was painful and running almost unbearable. I bought new running sneakers with extra cushioning and wrapped my foot as tight as I could just to be able to get through three miles. Afterwards, I’d limp around the house.

As time went on, I got used to the pain. I decided it was something I was going to have to live with. If I were lucky, it’d go away on its own. One day my husband watched as I tried to put on sandals taking deep breaths and wincing with each turn of my foot and he asked: “when are you going to see a doctor?”

It was a good question. I hated how this sore was affecting my life. I had reached a point where I’d rather put up with the pain I knew then face an unknown pain even though it was one that could possibly get rid of the problem for good.

It got me thinking about the emotional pain that we all carry with us every day. Things that happened in our past that linger and occasionally rise to the surface squeezing our hearts, making us feel what we once felt, replaying the scene until we can bury the memory again. Those moments from our past color our world sometimes without us knowing it simply because we’ve become used to living with the pain. That pain influences our beliefs and actions.

I believe pain equals growth if it is acknowledged. If we learn to live with it, like I was willing to live with my foot, and we ignore it, then it affects our daily lives. We can end up living in anger, helplessness, feelings of unworthiness or of being incapable of change. If we learn to live in those emotions, then we’re not dealing with their root causes and learning how to live a life with gratefulness and possibility. In fact, we’re probably imposing those hurtful emotions on others because it’s the cloud we’ve chosen to stay under. No one can bring us to the light except ourselves. That light is not found outside ourselves but deep within. We can choose to keep it buried or face the pain of uncovering it.

I’ve decided to go to the doctor and accept whatever pain comes with healing because whether we run from, ignore, or bury it, pain is still always there pestering us, demanding to be seen. The only way to freedom which allows us to see the beauty of our life is through having the courage to learn from our pain and grow stronger knowing that whenever darkness brings us to our knees, we are able to rise up and shine our light even if it’s only a glimmer.

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