Pushing Through Pain

Michael Jordan’s flu game, a significant amount of J.J. Watt’s games, and Isaiah Thomas’ continuing to play after losing a tooth; there’s a reason we praise them. Playing through pain is an admirable quality that we don’t take for granted. In fact, it’s a quality that many seek to attain and grow. But pushing through pain isn’t just limited to sports. In fact, pushing through pain is necessary for one to live their fullest life.

Not always (and actually rarely) physical, pushing through pain includes pushing through whatever mental and emotional turmoil one is in. That may be the death of loved one, a breakup, a bad grade in school, and most any non-physical injury. These are the things that we have no choice but to (eventually) push past. One might push forward right away or decide to let it overcome them, but at some point that someone will have to push through it.

In a sense, this can make non-physical pain even harder to push through. For sitting back and waiting for time to heal everything doesn’t always work. If Michael Jordan had decided not to play when he had the flu, nobody would have blamed him. Afterall, he had the flu. Taking the time off may have even helped him recover faster. And even if he didn’t recover faster by sitting out, there wasn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind that time would eventually heal him. Yet if someone gets into a huge argument with their friend, time won’t necessarily heal that. In fact, the wound will only fester the longer they don’t refrain from pushing through their anger and hurt in order to make amends.

Pushing through (non-physical) pain right away is something that we could all stand to do. If we don’t, the pain isn’t likely to fade and eventually die out. It’s more prone to stay, even if it’s below the surface, festering away at your mind and emotions, simmering as it affects your lifestyle. Truly, pushing through pain is necessary for one to live their fullest life.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it, no matter how agonizing the mental or emotional pain. Even if that pain is worse than most any physical pain. That’s why fans, coaches, and players league-wide praised Isaiah Thomas for playing the day after his sister’s death, applauding him far more for it than for continuing to play after losing a tooth. It’s a large part of why people praise and/or revere Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, JFK and FDR, Kobe Bryant (off the court he faced some major challenges), and Muhammad Ali (it wasn’t just because of what he did inside the ring), and a multitude of others. Even in film, it plays a key role in why we are attracted to the Rocky Balboa, the James Bond, and the Jason Bourne type movies.

No matter how you slice it, pushing through pain is an admirable quality that we are attracted to and, indeed, love to see. It doesn’t just pertain to sports, but to every facet of life. The fact of the matter, then, is quite simple. Pushing through pain is a necessity for one to live their fullest life.

Until next time.

– JP

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