Why we all need pain

How utter heartbreak can lead to a greater life

 There isn’t much in the world that is more painful than a broken heart. And most will say that there’s no better salve than time to take that pain away. But why are we so quick to speed through and even negate the pain? Why do we distract ourselves from feeling emotions that can actually help us find more closure on the love that has been lost?

Love is pain – but you have a choice

Have you ever found yourself asking, “Why is life so painful?” You’re not alone, but pain is part of life. To further that, love and pain often go hand-in-hand. And while it is seen by most as something to be avoided, pain can actually be a good thing. It opens a well and presents you with a valuable opportunity to grow, but it’s your job to decide what you are going to fill that well up with: love or fear. It’s this choice that can take you to an entirely new realm of possibilities, because even if you do not understand why you lost love, you know that there is something beautiful that can come from it. There’s something more inside of you because of it. When you feel that love is pain, take that realization and use it as a jumping point for growth instead of a reason to inhabit a depressed state.


Why does love hurt?

While love in the movies is often depicted as a rosy and pain-free experience, you probably know things can be different in real life. Breakup pain is real, and so many people have experienced love with some sort of pain along the way.

Why is love painful? Love is painful because it often opens up questions about the future. You know how it feels to be in love. Everything just seems to make sense and feel secure. This can all disappear in a flash when a relationship falls apart.

A lack of clarity about a relationship can lead to anxiety that actually manifests as real physical pain, like stomach ailments or headaches, along with a host of emotional symptoms.

Many wonder why does love hurt even when they try to move on quickly. The answer can have more to do with your brain chemistry than your heart. Even if some would argue love is pain, there’s no doubt that romantic connections stimulate endorphins and chemicals in the brain that make you feel good. This is the “glue” that binds partners together, since these chemicals can start to decrease if you separate from your loved one for a short time.

But the withdrawal from a broken relationship can send chemicals like serotonin and dopamine – the “feel good” hormones – into a permanent downward spiral. Amid breakup pain, it’s best to get out and exercise and do your best to eat nutritious foods. Doing both helps get these “love” chemicals flowing through your veins again and can spark your energy.

 Is love supposed to hurt?

You might understand the chemical and emotional reactions you can experience in a time of love and pain, but many people wonder if love is even supposed to hurt in the first place, especially if the time with your partner was rocky.

The answer is a bit different than it might seem. For some, it’s less about love and pain and more about the growth and stretching process of facing your fears and actually staying committed to your partner.

Tony believes there are only a few things more courageous than walking into an intimate relationship, one filled with great emotions and deep fears and insecurities. True love invites each partner into the deepest corners of the hearts, far away from the surface level experiences many of us have on a daily basis. But stepping up to the challenge of being honest with your partner is a powerful way to experience a real relationship that’s filled with intimacy and passion.

Love and pain: What you can learn from romantic relationships


While it can be scary to acknowledge change, you can find strength by commanding it. Tell yourself that things will never be the same. That you will never be the same. But this is an opportunity to realize new levels of opportunity and growth – and this doesn’t just mean in the long run.

Realize that while you may not be able to have control over what is happening in your love life, there are certain things you can control. For example: your body. When you take control of your body, the mind and emotions will respond. Become emotionally strong by first getting physically fit. Put your body first, get into a peak state and you will be able to change your perspective on pain.

Realize that you also have the power to feed your mind. You can dwell in memories of your relationship and replay the breakup over and over, or you can feed your mind information, poetry, spirituality. You can use the headache and pain to discover more about yourself and what you want in life. Not only will this help you in the moment, but when you’re ready to date again, you’ll know more about yourself and what you’re looking for in a potential partner.

Realize that pain is a signal to turn inward. And taking control of your physicality and your emotional state is the first step toward a higher level of self-discovery and evolution.


Losing a romantic relationship can lead to intense feelings of sadness. Sadness allows us to connect with ourselves. As bad as it feels, we connect. We connect with our emotions, we connect with our memories and we connect with our thoughts. This is why it is comfortable to stay in sadness and difficult to transcend we are meeting our need for connection.

The only way out of this is to have something else you want to connect with more. You have to ask yourself, what do you value more than your pain? Do you value helping other people more? Perhaps you value helping animals? Ask yourself: “What is the reason I am here?

By shifting the focus from yourself to something else, you’ll learn how to gradually let go of your pain and move on. This is the power of contribution.

Understanding how to find meaning out of your pain is a way to take a broken heart and turn it into something that will help you grow and expand your ability to love. We have to go through the emotions of shock, denial, hurt and anger. But eventually there is acceptance, and the best way to reach peace is to find a higher meaning out of our need to serve others.


If you can use your heartache and pain to find a more empowering meaning, and ultimately change your story, then you can take that same experience and say, “I’m going to take control of my life. I’m going to make a change.” Rather than sitting and becoming a reaction – making yourself the effect of the event – you are realizing that you have the power to determine what things mean and how you will approach life from this point forward.

One of the keys to utilization is envisioning a compelling future. What does your new vision look like? What are you going to be doing differently in the future? And what are you going to do differently today?

Remember, if you don’t take control and make the necessary changes, weeds are going to grow automatically. But if you learn and adapt, you can achieve a new level of living that would have never been possible had you not gone through the heartache you did.

When it comes to love and pain, you must learn how to let go

Picking up the pieces of a broken heart is one of the hardest things many will do. But making an effort to just hold onto the past can stonewall you from a brighter and more vibrant future.

While there’s nothing wrong with taking time to process your pain, you need to eventually focus your time and energy on creating a positive future, one where love and pain is carefully balanced. Doing so after breakup pain is an essential part of changing your story and mindset. And once you do, you will ultimately find the right partner for you.

Header image © sunny studio/shutterstock

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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