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Why Tracee Ellis Ross thinks you should embrace the pain in life

Tracee Ellis Ross Pin It
Photo: Invision for Motrion/AP Images/Jason DeCrow

Tracee Ellis Ross—star of the hit TV show Black-ish, recent Golden Globes winner, and younger member of one of the most badass mother-daughter duos around (Goldie and Kate, you’ve got company)—is on a roll. And even if you didn’t know that, you’d guess it by looking at her face, which seems to be lit from within, forever beaming with joy. (Seriously, Google her.)

Her secret? Pain.

No, not in some Fifty Shades of Grey way. Ross’ approach to pain is more like a rolling-up-her-sleeves-and-facing-it kind of thing.

“Most of my life’s most delicious moments, or miraculous moments, or joyful moments, have pain in them. And looking at it as, ‘How can I face this and dive deeper?’ That’s really where everything good happens,” Ross said Tuesday night at Motrin’s #WomenInProgress event in New York City.

“Most of my life’s most delicious moments have pain in them. That’s really where everything good happens.”

Ross, who was joined onstage by some seriously impressive women (think self-help goddess Gabrielle Bernstein and yogi Jessamyn Stanley), says turning pain into pleasure doesn’t happen overnight. Which means that you shouldn’t be discouraged—or take failure as a sign to throw in the towel.

“Think about a baby learning how to walk: When they fall, you don’t go, ‘Oh, you should give up! Did you bump your head? Well, that’s it! No walking for you—that’s a clear message right there.’ No! You encourage that baby,” Ross says. “They get back up; they stumble. And as we get older, we have further to fall. So there’s so much more invested in it.”

No pain, no Golden Globes award gain, right?

For more practice getting over your fear of falling (and failing), check out Lena Dunham’s advice on owning your tree pose and Gabrielle Bernstein’s simple tips for more positive self-talk.