Our perception of pain is defined by our experience.

Pain is simply a response triggered by a stimulus. It is our body telling us that something is wrong. Receptors recognise the stimulus, it sends a signal to the brain telling us of the disruption. Then we react.

The physiology is the same for everyone (barring any dysfunction or abnormality), yet the way we experience it is different.

Consider a boxer or a martial artist. The first time you jump into the ring and get punched in the face, it will hurt. It would probably stop you in your tracks. You brain would go into overdrive as it tries to make sense of the situation and how to react.

However, as you gain experience in the ring, you adapt. The punch has a lesser effect. The punch itself does not get softer, in fact, it is probably more powerful as you face stronger opponents. Yet, the way you perceive pain (i.e the stimulus of being punched, has changed.

You are more resilient. You may not be prepared for the punch itself, but you can fall back on your training and previous experience. The way you now respond to the stimulus has changed.

There is a shift in your brain. It has learnt that pain is a part of the process.

Adaptation has occurred. The pain isn’t going to stop you.

Pain and suffering is unavoidable. Therefore, we must learn to overcome it and move forward.

Otherwise, you’ll hit the canvas and be out for the count.

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