years ago, i went through a transition that came with a good bit of pain + discomfort. the kind that makes you want to either busy yourself with something obsessive or stay submerged in a brimming pot of a really good time. temporary relief, via whatever distraction.
i was lucky to come across Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet in that same time period. that book taught me the importance of sitting with pain, which was a new concept to me at the time. it taught me to not engage with distractions when the thick of the discomfort had me at my squirmiest. taught me to pay attention to my pain and the thoughts + feelings that surround it, and endure the pain. that's when growth happens. but you have to be paying attention to get to grow. otherwise you won't pick up the actual benefits of pain.
i found almost the same advice recently in The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran - this quote from the chapter On Pain: "much of your pain is self-chosen. it is the bitter potion by which the physician in you heals your sick self. trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility."
i need reminders of this big lesson all the time.