Discovering the Purpose of Pain

Mar 4 , 2023
By Eden Sahle

The world is not short of pain. Despite the variation in type and degree, all of us go through tragedies of some sort. Expected or not, experience hardships that are upsetting and may result in a change in the course of life.

There is a strong link between tragedies and our purpose in life. It makes sense considering our different encounters with mishaps at some point in life. It is said when we discover the purpose in the pain then it ceases from being one. If eventualities of our lives work in our favour, then as painful as it might be, tragedies do contribute to our good.

Over the past year my husband, mother, siblings and friends endlessly comforted me while healing from the pain caused by the sudden passing of my beloved father. But it is those individuals who survived tragedies that created a greater influence on me to strive and overcome the grief. In my quest to find meaning, I met several brave men and women who survived painful experiences in the past. I met girls and women who were raped and tormented by family members and others. I met men who were neglected by their caregivers after losing their parents and ended up homeless. I met boys and girls who became orphans at such a young age. I met bedridden and terminal illness patients at hospitals and at their residences whose hope was very much intact.

The anguish, pain and hopelessness they underwent left them with an indelible wound. Nevertheless, it is incredible how these same individuals not only overcame their adversities but also offered to restore hope for someone like me who was struggling with the sudden passing of a loving father.

All of us go through pain but not all discover its purpose. Although denying painful experiences temporarily to protect oneself from anxiety is encouraged by experts, the relevance of eventually confronting it is what brings transformation.

These individuals encouraged me to find purpose and meaning to heal.

They did not wallow in self-pity but rather perceived it as the creation of a new profound meaning in their life however little was left of it. Converting the hurt into a purpose allowed them to channel confusion into who they envisioned to be, using it to birth a great purpose.  It was interesting to witness them reach a level where they constantly ask themselves who can benefit and be encouraged by their story.

As one who has been in great affliction, their compassion and understanding of others who are hurting were unmatched.

Their optimism is infections. Listening to them portrays that we all possess the ability to reverse pain and hopelessness. The survivors of rape now work to protect other girls and women from such evil acts while those who have created a home overcoming homelessness strive to search home for others who are now in their previous shoes. The orphans formed relationships with fellow children who have become their loving families. Those who lost their health teach how every minute is an opportunity to do good.

The remarkable individuals I met agree with Helen Keller’s concept of a happy life which is a life that is not encountered with absence but in the mastery of hardships. They believe there is a deep joy that comes from overcoming pain. How they dealt with their painful experiences paved the way for being great role models and encouraging others to find meaning in pain in order to overcome it.

The ability to master their pain enabled them to grow out of tragedies even when the problems are not eliminated. It allowed them to discover the strength they never knew was within them all along. As Ernest Hemingway famously said, “the world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places."

They pose a question to everyone: how do you like to deal with your pain? The answer lies within each of us.

I learned that when pain is handled the right way it can create a positive and lasting influence making us develop greater compassion for others. It inspires us to be grateful, fight injustice and value our time on earth making beneficial life choices.

The pain life throws at us can trigger a profound sense of meaning and greater purpose in life. Making sense of the tragedies we encounter and finding a purpose in what happened crafts the road to healing and transformation. Individuals’ decisions on how to deal with painful experiences in a healthy way are vital to take out the positive and the good from tragedies.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 04,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1192]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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