I’m taking a break from my Happy Ending posts to write a short post about pain. I was having a chat with a friend the other day and the topic centered on emotional pain and how hard it is to deal with and how fragile we feel when we’re experiencing it. In the midst of the conversation I had one of those “ahha moments”. It dawned on me that emotional pain serves a purpose just like physical pain.
Physical pain is important. It saves our lives day after day and we don’t even think about it. Imagine if you couldn’t feel physical pain? You wouldn’t know when your hand caught fire from the fireplace. You’d not know if falling down the stairs ended in internal injuries. You wouldn’t know if you had a rotten tooth. I could go on and on. While living with chronic pain is horrible, for most of us pain is necessary to stay alive. It’s our warning sign that something isn’t right.
What about emotional pain? Does it also help us stay alive? I believe so. Again, I’m not talking about chronic emotional pain but about those times when someone we care about causes us to question their love; when they do something that causes us heartache Those times when we were kids and the bullying was verbal and just as painful as anything physical. When your partner breaks an agreement and your pain is palpable. Or when you do something knowing that it’s going to hurt someone you love.
If someone you love consistently causes you pain, it’s a sign that you need to look more closely at the relationship. If you find yourself lashing out and causing pain to those around you, maybe it’s time to look more closely at yourself and what needs you are not taking care of. In the case of the bullying, emotional pain hopefully acts as a warning device to stay away from the person bullying you and may ultimately protect you from physical bullying. (most domestic violence cases that I know of started of with emotional abuse way before the physical started)
I think that emotional pain keeps us spiritually alive as much as physical pain keeps us physically alive. Instead of trying to numb the pain by checking out or taking drugs or denying it exists, take the time to sit with the pain. Even wallow a bit if you can. Look at what’s really going on and take appropriate action. Acknowledge it and use it as a tool to improve your life. Embrace the pain; it may save your life