What exactly is the purpose of pain? When we have an experience that rocks us to our core, one that renders us unquestionably different as a result of that experience, how do we use it? How do we use hurt and the resulting lessons to shore up our own lives? How do we shift from pain to self-inquiry, to healing in the form of self-expression?

I can tell you the questions and answers that work for me. Actually, what I’ll do is show you how I’ve used pain as a catalyst for self-expression. What follows is an excerpt from Radical Self-Expression Manifesto: Her how-to guide for self-love. Swim in it as an overview—an appetizer, if you will—and I’ll use the next four days to tell you more about each of the principles.

Radical Self–Expression is an act of self–preservation that allows introspection and self–exploration to translate outwardly onto how we serve our communities.

When we manage the energy of our experiences (past and present) instead of just walking along our life’s path tucking, rolling and reacting to whatever comes our way, without recognition of our ability to harness what we know and express what we love, we become change agents.

We become the small instances of change that push limitations and fears aside in favor of the audacity to turn a dream into a goal into a series of tasks. These dream-focused tasks become not just what we believe, but what we are doing to see the world we desire, starting boldly with ourselves.