Pain is a necessary part of our lives which life would more difficult without. But why would life be so much harder without the suffering which, apart from those among us with a (sexual) sado-masochistic tendency, we all have to endure?
1. Pain can help to make us better.
When I've suffered from bad toothache, it tells me something's wrong. It let me know that I've had an infected tooth and needed to see a dentist. The same goes for other illnesses when we need to see a doctor to make us better. Whether it's to take medication or seek extra help, we protect the injured part of ourselves to help heal it quicker.
2. Feeling pain to stop us from further pain.
I remember when I was at school, a teacher told a true story about a boy who was paralysed from the waist down. He was sitting with his foot against a radiator, unaware that his skin was burning because he didn't have any feeling in his feet. It was only later that he realised that he was at risk of going up in flames. If he had been able to feel the pain, he would have been able to stop himself from further danger. In this sense, pain can be a sign that's something's wrong and a warning that if we don't address it, we could feel a lot more pain.
3. Pain in order to enjoy the good things in life.
Sometimes it's only because we experience pain and heartache that we are able to enjoy life's pleasures. If we want to get the most out of our lives and enjoy every single minute of it, don't we have to go through the contrasting emotions of happiness and sadness? And can't we only experience sadness by having some sort of pain?
Think of the labour pains of childbirth the rewards at the end of it all far outweigh the vast majority of pain Mums go through.
4. Pain as a motivation to change.
If we are in pain, it can inspire us to change our lifestyle. Whether it's feeling or experiencing the pain of cancer because of years of smoking tobacco or the painful effects of drink driving or the pain of an overdose of drugs, it can encourage us to change the way we live.
5. Pain leads to innovation.
Being in pain can make us look for new cures, medication and pain relief which we would otherwise not have found. It's never easy to see someone suffering in pain, but the new technology, like MRI scans, for detecting areas of pain, or the pharmaceutical developments for easing pain, may not have come about if no-one had suffered it in the first place.
6. Pain to find the right direction in life.
As a Christian, I feel that pain is caused by the devil, both directly and through his temptations. Feeling pain is something God doesn't want us to experience and each time we go through it, particularly the unnecessary pain we suffer, it's a reminder to me that I need to read my Bible and get closer to God. This is one of the reason religions have holy books: as a guidance to avoid pain.
So far from being something negative, pain can be a good and necessary part of our lives. And once we've overcome some kinds of pain we can have a real sense of achievement and feel as though we've learnt something which we can then pass on to other people.