What Determines your Pain Threshold?

The ability to handle pain or discomfort is a combination of many factors such as; Perception, Upbringing, Experience, Sincerity, and Expectations.

By perception, I mean how people interpret events of their lives. If you perceive an event to be bad or that it should not have happened, you may have a hard time admitting that it already happened and that for a reason. The more you keep fighting what is and hoping it never did, the more difficult it gets for you to manage it and move on with your life.

Our upbringing also contributes to perception. If you grew in an environment where they do not allow you to experience pain or discomfort, where almost all your wishes are provided, where your parents/guardians do not love to see children crying (so you can easily manipulate them with your crying), where things are always done for you, it may be quite hard to handle pain and discomfort well.

Very close to upbringing is experience. Experiences are the events that happened sometimes in our past. Some can be one-off, significant (that is, a defining moment), and others can be regular occurrences. For some events of life, we can still remember like it occurred yesterday, while others, we may even argue that they never happened. However, all experiences sow some seeds in our thoughts which later define our beliefs, perceptions, default reactions, and outcomes in life. Therefore, for many people, they cringe by default when they confront the challenges of life. I remember back then in Junior Secondary School, I had a classmate who always fell sick a day before exams and recovers the final day of exams. Note that I stressed always. We spent three (3) years together (9 terms in all), and all those 9 times we wrote exams, he was sick. This may relate to some experience in his childhood.

Our experiences, upbringing, and perceptions we have built over time also affect how sincere we are with ourselves and to people. The advent of social media has made it a lot easier for people to project to the world a picture of who they are not. If, for example, you tell the world that you made $1,000,000 online in 5 hours, you will naturally become constrained to always move around in expensive cars, clothing, and gadgets. However, if there is a threat to your finance in any way, you may not have the presence of mind to critically assess the situation and make informed decisions. Rather, the need to maintain that image of a multimillionaire you put out there may overwhelm you. When you are sincere, you will not make impressing others your ultimate goal. You may even talk about the crisis you are dealing with now and request suggestions from your followers. To be sincere means to be humble enough to see things for what they are; when you have a modest estimation of yourself, you can be open to receive help from others.

Another factor to consider on how easy it is to manage pain or discomfort is expectations. Sometimes, your hopes are so high you cannot even imagine anything negative happening. For example, you consider a promising business and invest all your lifesavings in it. Why? Your expectations are high. You met someone not quite long, and because of how gorgeous they look, you commit to a relationship without some thorough background check. Why? Your expectations are high. You saw a social media advert on a product you have always wanted; you immediately place an order without reading their policy or even checking whether they are real. Why? Your expectations are high. In each example above, one common factor is that there is no provision for ‘if’ things go wrong. What if the business fails? What if the gorgeous person is not who they portray to be? What if the online store is a scam, or that they do not take back goods once sold? When expectations are unrealistic or lead to making hasty decisions, disappointments may be inevitable. And without a backup plan for the disappointment, the pain may linger than is necessary.

Excerpts from my book THE LIFE SATISFACTION QUOTIENT

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