The Meaning Of The Secret Of Joy Is The Mastery Of Pain

What does Anais Nin mean when she wrote “The secret of joy is the mastery of pain” in her diary?

Let’s find out the meaning of this simple 8-word quote.

Generally joy is synonymous with happiness or delight.

But actually, there is a difference between the feeling of joy and sheer happiness.

Joy is an emotion made up of feelings of happiness, contentment, and harmony, which comes from within us.

Whereas general happiness is caused by certain particular events.

secret of joy is mastery of pain

Furthermore there are two forms of joy: active and passive.

Passive joy is about tranquility and a feeling of contentment with things as they are.

Active joy involves a desire to share one’s feelings with others.

Secret Of Joy Is Mastery Of Pain

Now, let’s continue with the meaning of the quote, “The secret Of joy is the mastery of pain”.

What the French-Cuban American writer meant is that if you to be joyful, you must know how to harness your feeling of pain.

It can be either or both physical pain and emotional agony.

That’s all to it.

So how does one control or handle one’s pain?

There are two key ways to overcome or cope with one’s painful sensation.

Firstly, one has to be mentally and emotionally prepared to confront and accept it.

Secondly, one must know how to react to it.

As they say, in life things happens. It’s inevitable.

As we walk down the path of life, one has must be ready to come across puddles along the way.

At times, if you cannot avoid these obstacles, you have to step onto them and get soiled.

“Every path hath a puddle.” – George Herbert

(The Works of George Herbert: In Prose And Verse By George Herbert, Edited By Rev. Robert Aris Willmott, New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1867, Jacula Prudentum, P. 308)

Having pain or problems in life is inevitable. But how one responds and manages it, is an option.

I know it is easier say than done.

But whatever it is, we should accept the fact, rather than becoming upset or frustrated.

We have to learn to deal with emotional suffering and unpleasant sensations the best possible ways.

The one thing is we can use our attitude to manage the avoidable pains and sufferings that plagued us.

Many a time you realize it is your anger or sorrow that often causes you more harm or hurt than the things that actually upset about.

If we look closer, the problem comes from allowing ourselves to wallow in pain or being frustrated with it.

These emotions are the one that hurt us more.

We can make pain feels less overwhelming, if we just focus on coping with the here and now.

Just forget about what lies beyond that.

When we become frustrated and angry with unpleasant feelings, naturally we try to control, avoid, or suppress them.

In fact by doing all these, we are aggravating the pain.

We should learn to accept pain, rather than struggling against it.

By willingly to accept it, often makes it more bearable.

Gradually over time, by accepting it, it often becomes less threatening.

To sum it up, we can master pain by accepting it and treating it with a different mindset.

With that, then only we get to enjoy life, and dismiss the pain that is harassing you all the time.

Quotations On Pain


“The marks humans leave are too often scars.” – John Green

(The Fault In Our Stars By John Green, Penguin UK, 2012, Ch. Twenty-Five)

(The quote is also found here.)


“Life is pain, … . Anyone who says differently is selling something.” – William Goldman (From his script of The Princess Bride)

(The Princess Bride By William Goldman, 1987-Shooting Draft)


“If you are grieved about anything external, ’tis not the thing itself that afflicts you, but your judgment about it; and it is in your power to correct this judgment and get quit of it.” – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

(The Meditations Of The Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Translated By Francis Hutcheson And James MoorEdited And With An Introduction By James Moor And Michael Silverthorne, Indianapolis: Libety Fund, 2008, Book VIII, 47, P. 103)


“Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.” – Rabindranath Tagore

(Collected Poems And Plays Of Rabindranath Tagore, London: Macmillan and Co., 1920, LXXIX, Fruit-Gathering, P. 215)

(The quote is also found in: The English Writings Of Rabindranath Tagore: Poems By Rabindranath Tagore,Volume One: Poems, Edited By Sisir Kumar Das, Sahitya Akademi, Section I, The Fruit Gathering, 79, P. 188)


“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.” – Alal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

(The Essential Rumi By Rumi, Translated By Coleman Barks With John Moyne, A. J. Arberry, Reynold Nicholson, Castle Books, 1997, 5 Feeling Separation: Don’t Dome Near Me, A Man And a Woman Arguing, P. 48)


“…life is pain and the enjoyment of love is an anesthetic.” – Cesare Pavese

(This Business Of Living: Diaries 1935-1950 By Cesare Pavese, With New Introduction By John Taylor, Routledge, 2017, 1938, 19th January)


“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding” – Kahlil Gibran

(The Prophet By Kahlil Gibran, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1923, On Pain, P. 60)

(The quote is also found in: The Prophet By Kahlil Gibran, The Floating Press, 2009, The Pain, P. 48)

*Check out my full collection of Anais Nin quotes to arouse your attention.