The Revelation of Pain

by PJ McClure on April 18, 2013

It never occurred to me how much pain some people carry around.

I’ve experienced the pain of friends dying young, my own poor judgment, and loosing every possession to name a few… but nothing that goes into the really dark side of pain. Physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse have never been part of my immediate experience, so I’ve been relatively sheltered from their effects.

If I spent any time listening to the media accounts of these tragedies, my view of their victims would be limited to the real basket cases. Porn stars, serial killers, and the like are the ones who get the headlines and their particular abuse is the reason for their behavior. Or so it seemed.

During the years after opening my coaching practice and speaking career to more than corporate clients, I’ve encountered a brand new reality involving abuses and the world of personal pain they cause.

On any given weekend at a conference or seminar, I will make sure I have time to eat lunch and hang out with the attendees. It’s one of my favorite things about my profession. I’m regularly blown away by the depth of engagement and vulnerability people will allow when they’ve followed my blog or newsletter but have never actually met me.

For example, I recently sat down to eat lunch and purposefully left three chairs empty and asked God to fill them with who He would. Three women asked to sit and “pick my brain” about how to be more successful. Within a few minutes and using only a few Spirit led questions, I learned that the core issues for each of them stemmed directly from abuse. Two were sexually abused and one psychologically abused. This isn’t uncommon.

What’s more, you would have never known it to see them or talk to them casually. Throughout that particular weekend, I met doctors, lawyers, accountants, business owners, fitness professionals and more that look like the picture of mental health and function. But because of the God-given gift I used to consider a nuisance, they share with me the darkness they carry.

Maybe the part that stands out to me the most is that none of them sees how that pain is their roadblock to prosperity. The layers of emotional scar tissue that cover the pain are so thick, they don’t see things clearly.

In just a few minutes, over lunch, walking down a hall, or standing in line for coffee, they reveal details of horrific attacks or years of torment. We clarify the picture and identify how those pains of years past are holding them back now and that, as unnatural as it may seem, they need to forgive all the parties involved if they ever want to be free.

The forgiveness exercises are simple and I’ve covered some of them in other videos or articles, but they aren’t the thing on my heart right now. Most of my life has been lived thinking that people who have experienced horrible things were obvious. Scars of one kind or another would always be visible and let me know when I was dealing with a broken person. Wrong.

Reflecting on my own pains and tragedies tells me that we can cover and adapt to almost anything. Every person I meet could be, and probably is, battling a personal darkness that has them trapped…limiting the light they shine into the world.

It’s this realization that now causes me to treat everyone like they are carrying pain and that they need my compassion, not my criticism or sharp wit. Viewing the world through this lens makes things look and feel different. I lead with my heart, trust my instincts, and have a greater opportunity to make a difference. I don’t always get it right, but I increase my odds with every attempt.

Take a moment and remember a time of personal struggle and darkness. How did you want to be treated? You probably didn’t want sympathy or special attention as much as you wanted courtesy, sincerity, and respect. Now take that forward and treat everyone you meet that way. Lead with your heart and watch the world open in front of you.

Be your best,




Elise Adams June 20, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Thank you so much for writing this article. I find it amazing to realize that there are people in the world who haven’t been through incredibly painful experiences like I have. This article reminded me to forgive even those who are unconsciously callous or unaware. I realized over the past couple weeks that I have a responsibility to share my healing wounds–that this alone inspires and encourages others to keep on facing their own pain.

On another note: I was blessed to be one of those women at your table. It was a Divine appointment. Let me say, for someone who hasn’t been ‘there’, your ability to connect, empathize and communicate with me…well, let me say I’ve very rarely experienced this! And, if I may be so bold, I believe your reach is far wider than you even know yet. That lunch changed my life! While I’ve experienced great healing I never understood that this healing was/is for ALL areas of my life–emotional, spiritual and YES in business and financial arenas as well. ‘Thank you’ is yet again, too small a phrase to describe my gratitude–that you were willing and ‘showed up’ for God to bless us all that day!

Jonathan June 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm

This just struck a chord with me PJ. Throughout my entire adult life (26 now) I have always ‘attracted’ broken people into my life.

They come to me with their pains, their struggles, and their deepest hidden secrets.

I too have had some of these same pains. Reading what you just wrote kind of opened my eyes up to something. Perhaps, my purpose is to use this ‘gift’ in the same ways that you are. Helping people.

I get no better satisfaction than helping people. Loving people. Being empathetic with people. And helping to open their eyes to their healing.

Also, while reading this, something has cemented into my brain.. My cousin owns a donut shop here in Houston. Today he was robbed at gunpoint. Not long after, I found myself praying for forgiveness for the man that robbed him, and praying that my cousin forgive him also.

Reading this about forgiveness simply cemented into my head that this was obviously the most logical and best thing to do. I just want to thank you PJ for all of this that you are putting out here into the world. It’s truly a blessing, and I feel like you have found your calling.

As I said earlier, I believe you and I may have the same calling. As tiring as it has been in the past to hear these tragedies in people’s lives, being an easy person to talk to for them is so very rewarding. Do you have any advice as to where to take it from simply being a friend listening, to someone who, like you, can effect thousands, if not millions of people? Thanks.

PJ McClure June 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for sharing and I’m glad this brings some clarity to you. My advice depends solely on your faith.

For me, as a believer in God, I ask for wisdom and discernment to see where He wants me to use this gift, these tools. It still and always will amaze me what happens when I earnestly seek to be in God’s will before my own. That desire is what lead to this business.

Your purpose is undoubtedly to use the gifts you’ve been given…the context in which you use them is primarily up to you. Don’t assume that you have to be an entrepreneur or even a professional coach to live that purpose. There are people of all stripes and professions that use such gifts to their fullest and still impact millions. Pray for guidance, look around you and see where you are drawn, listen for that still, small voice that will bring people and situations to your attention… you’ll find your path there.

Be your best,

Fay June 17, 2011 at 9:10 am

Forgiveness is a powerful process and to help support others through that process is truly an honour. Keep up the great work PJ.

Carla J Gardiner June 16, 2011 at 10:53 am

Wow, PJ! The transparency you have just shown is remarkable, it is as if I were sitting chatting over a cup of coffee with you. Knowing you as I do, I felt the sincerity of your heart and the words reflected the pain you helped me to overcome. If anyone reads this I’d like to encourage them to work with you. Recognizing and overcoming issues like you have described are not easy, but it is so worth it. Once I dealt with my issues head on, the flood gates opened and my creativity flows, as are the blessings of being free from my past. Thanks, PJ I’m so thankful for you, your gift and friendship.

Tim Hillwood June 16, 2011 at 10:39 am

Powerful reminder and observation PJ. If we walk in love instead of with distance or judgment, we can be the catalyst that helps another open up their light again. How easy it is to continue carrying around the upsets of the past, yet the present is the power-point from which life is lived.

Leila June 16, 2011 at 9:27 am

Great piece. Sometimes it’s those of us who act the strongest or seem the most rigid or aloof who have experienced such deep pain. AND, sometimes it is hard for those of us who have experienced that to remember – so have others. Interesting conflict

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