Turning your pain into your GAIN!

Hello friends!

I love blogging for you! I am home now and getting settled in (YEAH!) I just got home from speaking engagements in PA and WI. What a wonderful time I had! I truly LOVE speaking and helping to inspire others. It is a passion that burns deep within me and is no doubt something I want to do for the rest of my life.

In going with my topic in WI, I want to blog about pain. UGH, I know. Doesn’t sound like much fun but I promise if you hang in through this post you will look at your “pain” in a whole new hopeful light. The GREAT thing about this blog post is you can read it (and answer these questions) in private. Everything starts with YOU and I encourage you today to be open, honest and realistic with yourself as I help you navigate this topic.

It is my opinion that our “emotional health” is very closely connected to MANY things in our life including but not limited to, job performance, family relationships (are they healthy?), ability to stay in relationships, ability to keep friendships and so on. You see, our emotional health is like the “root” if you will of all things that sprout in our life. While you can’t see the root, it is vital to the growth of the plant. While “unseen” the root is VITAL to life. The root for humans is our emotional wellbeing. Our emotional health is VITAL to our lives.

How many times have you met others (if not YOURSELF) who are in pain? They may not open up as to the source (they may never even speak to you!) but it is clear that these people are going through something. For this instance, take a look at yourself. Consider your life, your upbringing, your feelings etc.  If you live and breathe in this world, you have experienced pain. Now, some of you may have been blessed with beautiful upbringings and have AMAZING parents.. YES! This is a great start but I am certain that somewhere along the way, your heart has been hurt.

PAIN is a part of life (do not get me wrong, I am not saying to “suck it up” and get over it! NO! I believe that your pain must be faced). I am simply trying to highlight that if this is an ISSUE that we ALL experience, I would find it vitally important that we learn to approach, dissect and understand our pain so that we learn and grow from it!

I found that in my own life, my pain and my hurts began to “define” me and consume me. Instead of facing it head-on, I began to strive and seek monetary success, material possessions, relationships and people and anything else I could “focus” on to drown out my pain. Instead of “fixing” the issue, it caused a cascade of other problems. I began to choose relationships that were unhealthy as a result of my low self-confidence and hurting heart. If you are “emotionally unstable” you  will often times choose relationships that are unhealthy. I began to “strive” for money and material items thinking the more I could purchase, the more I was worth! Let me quickly clear this up before moving on… YOU are priceless. Your worth can’t be bought friends. Christ shed his blood on the cross for YOU and you simply can’t be bought! It took me MANY years to really understand this.

I began to get entangled in the endless pursuit of success.. now, I want to clear this up. I think being successful is FANTASTIC (and very important!) but seeking balance in life (BALANCE!) means being successful in more things than just your career and money-making ability. Somewhere along the way, I feel like people try to shift their PAIN to a constant pursuit of those things that won’t matter if you die tomorrow. Example if someone told you that tomorrow would be your last day… would you strive to meet those deadlines at work, crunch in as many meetings as possible OR would you grab your wife.. kiss her, hugs your children, tell them how you love them, make arrangements to secure your family etc? It is not something we want to think about but it is a VITALLY IMPORTANT thought friends!

Ask yourself, what is YOUR definition of success? Are you focusing on the growth of your emotional self, family and flourishing friendships as you are on the other things in your life? More often than not, we are raised in environments that are challenged. Sometimes, we have parents that are together for a lifetime but they are both “functioning in dysfunction” while others come from broken homes. Sometimes the pain comes from feelings of abandonment, stress, anxiety etc. As a young child, we are VERY impressionable. What happens? We begin to take these things on (inwardly) and slowly but surely, these “roots” sprout into a plant (young adult) who goes on to grow and reproduce these same feelings (if not fixed). That pain goes with us wherever we go and it shows in everything we do. If we do not take the time to look at our upbringing, our hurts, our pains and our “issues” if you will, we will more than likely continue to repeat these pains for generations to come!

I am going to talk to you about ways to turn your pain into your gain. I am so fortunate that I was able to understand these things before it was too late. I began to understand that I was letting my pain become a crutch. My pain was beginning to define me and cause me to keep my eyes focused on all of the things that do not matter. God put my AMAZING husband into my life to carry me when I felt like I could not. Sometimes, we have to hit rock bottom to realize that WOW, what we “thought” mattered does NOT matter! (Think of my “one day left” scenario), what we water grows. I started to understand that if I wanted to heal (TRULY HEAL!) I would have to do certain things including facing my past.

These leads me to my next big approach: you must FACE IT not FAKE IT! You must be willing to seek the treasure in your pain. I know, most people do not think of their pain as “treasure” but  I am challenging you to look at this in a whole new way. What if you could learn from your past? Learn the key things that you need to know in order to avoid passing these things on to your children? Well, you can but it takes your willingness to go to that “uncomfortable” place.

For me, I began to seek understanding of why I engaged in abusive relationships and why I constantly felt the need to “strive”. I went back to each part of my life (and even to the people) who hurt me and I faced them. I asked questions (now, I want you to understand, we are ALL in different places so this may not be the approach for you). For you, perhaps getting someone to talk to and open up to is the answer. There are SO many qualified professionals out there. For me, I began to counsel and open up to my Pastor and mentor. I began to look at all of the things I did in my life and I started to search for the “deeper” picture behind WHY I did those things. I think many of us are so conditioned to just “living through the pain” that we stop asking WHY. Asking these questions is where the treasure lies friends. This gives you the opportunity to understand, heal and never go back.

YOU have the ability to change generations by simply changing what and how you handle your pain! How awesome is this? I began to realize that success is MUCH more than showing up for work everyday to make lots and lots of money. I began to look at my marriage, my friendships and “my time”.. you know, the time for things like Blogging, writing, speaking and the things I LOVE! I began to understand that I could use my pain (after I understood and healed from it) to drastically help others in their own lives. Whether it was through speaking or just planting a seed to a random person. Life is really but a blink. I feel like we all deserve to overcome our pain and truly live abundant and fruitful lives. I now live my life by starting out each day (after devotions) by asking: What would I do if today were my last day? I still work and have a career but I joyously have FUN each day inspiring and motivating others. I find purpose in my work that is so much deeper than just making money. I just want to add making money is a GREAT thing if you use it as a tool and not a means of defining your self-worth. When you do what you love and you HELP others, you will be blessed. It is the LOVE of $ that is bad. Your first love should be the one who loved YOU enough to give you HIS son so that you could be free!

I saved the best for last. I started to take my bible down off the shelf where it collected dust and I opened it. I started to seek understanding of how God wants us to live. MAN! Let me just tell you friends, every single thing to live a full, abundant, joyous and happy life is right there. I started to mature past the “angry at God” stage to the stage where I was willing to realize there was no one to blame but myself. YOU choose to heal or not to heal. YOU choose to face your pain or not face your pain. YOU choose and God does give us the freedom of choice. HE does not promise us that we won’t suffer the consequences of our own choices though friends. It really is up to YOU.

How are you living? How are you raising your children? Are you spending as much time with your family and children as you are with your coworkers? Are you remembering your anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions as quickly as you do your deadlines, meetings and other things? If you were to die tomorrow, what would others say about you? Your life? Would you have been the best father/mother/sister/brother that you could have been? Would your family have felt loved? What past things are you not facing? I know that these are TOUGH questions but it is in the tough questions that we grow. They were tough for me to face and answer but remember, it all starts with YOU and the choice you choose to make.

You can learn to take your pain and grow from it. It can become a source for you to feel more joyous, grateful and appreciative than ever. You can learn what true success is (balanced success) and you can literally change generations but it takes your willingness to turn the pain into your GAIN. I did it and I challenge you to do this too.

God Bless you,

~Ashley Poptodorova

2 thoughts on “Turning your pain into your GAIN!

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