Imagine you’re in a marathon and only a few meters from the finish line.
You’re almost there, but someone else is closer. They’re just a few yards in front of you and they’re going to take first place. You don’t have anything left to give… but… you… just… can’t… lose. You won’t lose. So you push yourself with energy you don’t have, pushing your legs so hard they feel like they’re going to collapse.
Already it seems impossible, already your body feels like it can’t keep going – and you’ve only gained a few inches. It would be so easy to accept it. It would be the easiest thing in the world right now to come second. But you want it. You want it so bad – you want it more than anything, so you keep pushing.
It hurts so much, it feels like you might be dying. But you keep pushing, you’re in a place you’ve never been before, in a torture you’ve never endured before. Every instinct in your body screams ‘stop’. But you keep pushing, and it feels like your lungs and guts are going to tear right in half.
With one last gasp, you force yourself past your opponent and over the finish line. You collapse to the floor, your lungs shuddering deep breaths to extinguish the fires in your organs.
How do you think it feels in that moment, lying on the ground, overcome with pain? Because I think it’s one of the best feelings.
That’s not pain anymore, it’s emphasis. That full-body agony – carving its name in your nerves – anchors you to your victory. Every inch of pain is a beating drum. With each strike, the glory of that moment is etched into your consciousness, and you’re consumed by the beauty of your self-righteous suffering. That physiological exorcism is the affirmation you always craved. ‘You did it’ the pain whispers to you. ‘You did it’.
Perhaps we don’t celebrate pain enough. Perhaps in a culture that is quick to declare the joys of cheap sugar kicks, status-objects and shallow luxuries, we forget the importance of pain, suffering and struggle, and their role in shaping our reality.
What are your goals? What is your pain?
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