The Script sings in their song “Superheroes” something that applies directly to what I have been pondering my whole life: “Every day, every hour, turn that pain into power.”
Why is it essential in our lives to turn pain into power? Why do we struggle and what is the healthiest way to deal with it? These questions run through my head all the time. I was never good at bouncing back from bad situations — I always used to deal with my feelings in the wrong ways. I used to go home, sleep, eat, drink, watch TV and succumb to laziness in hopes of getting over a mistake.
Every single person on this planet has regretted something. I don’t have to do any research to tell you that because we are all guilty of “human error.” The day we understand how to deal with our human error is the day we learn to minimize it.
For example, I absolutely hated that I was not accepted to the Communications Fellows program here at Elon University. I wanted to be a part of that cohort so badly. In high school, I worked five days a week while also juggling school work, social life and family issues. When the time came to apply for the communications fellowship other admitted students were discussing in an Elon group chat, I applied half-ass.
When I ended up not even getting an interview, I thought I wasn’t good enough and dealt with the situation by partying with friends and making bad decisions.
When pain is present from a time of despair, I think we all have two choices on how we are going to cope. What I did — what my mom calls “the easy route” — is the first way someone can deal with it. When we mess up, whatever the circumstance is, we can take our anger and go out of control. But the best way of coping is the option everyone should take: focusing, gaining strength and positively changing that anger or sadness into something better.
Now the question is: Where do we begin to turn our pain into power? The way I see it, this is split into three steps.
First, you have to address the situation. Think about what just happened to you, and see what reinforcements you can do to bring up the situation. My poppy used to say, “Just make it better.” And honestly, he was not too far off.
Take time to reflect. Talk to people about your times in despair. Try to think what went wrong, and see if that will affect your decisions in the future.
Second, think out how you will apply your energy. When my grandfather died at the age of 70 from heart disease, my dad told me, “No Galvano lives past 70.” This made me think. I started to question a lot about my lifestyle. I addressed the situation and thought of a way to apply my sadness and frustration from this unfortunate family circumstance. I began to eat a lot healthier. I no longer ate the blood-clotting, fatty foods that have been killing generations of grease-loving Italian-American families like my own. When I started to apply my despair in this positive way, I felt a lot better about myself.
Finally, you have to stay consistent with your commitment to turn your anger or sadness into something better. People are going to tear you down, rip your heart out and try to blame it on you. That’s just the way life is. You have to stay committed no matter what the circumstances are.
Do not overfill your dedication because that’s how you get run down. Sometimes, that after-work margarita is healthy and essential. Tony Robbins once said, “Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” This is important to keep in mind — stay on track and don’t lose your mind in the process.
Remember the big ideas: address, apply, retain. If you follow these steps, it’s almost impossible to fall behind. Everything happens for a reason, so when a time of stress and pain slaps you across the face, use that pain as motivation to be stronger.
I believe this is absolutely essential. Please deal with sadness and anger in a productive and positive way. Dealing with life’s difficulties in a negative way can lead to lead to alcoholism, drug abuse, self-harm, criminal activity and more.
Don’t make the mistake of putting your pain into an unhealthy lifestyle. Turning pain into power — as the Script puts it — is “how a superhero learns to fly” after all.