Most of us have something in our past that’s a painful memory—a traumatic event, a heartbreak or betrayal, years of bullying or rejection, exclusion, abuse, an old anger that still gets triggered. We hear how important it is to move on, forgive, let go, live in the present, but those words can often seem like platitudes. If you’ve been hurt deeply enough, therapy, meditation, self-help practices, even prayer, may not completely free you from the tyranny of an old wound. True freedom requires the courage to embrace what happened to you and use it to change the world. When you can look back on the most difficult period in your life and feel gratitude instead of bitterness because you finally understand it was all part of God’s plan, that it was a catalyst toward realizing your purpose, that’s when everything changes. Turning pain into purpose melts the resentment away and replaces it with rare joy and a renewed love of life. There is no greater comfort to someone who is suffering, than another person who has been there and survived, and is willing to take their hand and guide them out of the dark.