Emotional pain is an unavoidable part of life. There is no more certain reminder that we are not in control of our own life. It leaves us standing stunned and grasping for relief. Strangely, we need not run from it and hide. We can meet the wild beast of pain in its own territory, as inadequately prepared as we may feel. Against our natural instinct, we can choose to go to the pain and into it. Our survival mechanism will tell us that such would be certain emotional death. Surprisingly, it is not.
Along with the demanding for things to not be as they are, we can learn to keep an openness and vulnerability. We don’t have to shut down when pain knocks on our door. Shutting down will not help our problem. It will add to the already accumulated layers of hardened emotion and psychic debris. The flow of life will falter and struggle to travel through us. If we remain soft, we will still hurt but the pain cannot grab onto anything permanently and so it will leave sooner and have less residual after effect.
When things are painful, it helps to not lay the blame. Whatever happened was inevitable at the time. We usually don’t see the whole picture or know the timing of something. Also, we have to take responsibility for our own choices. At every point along the way, at some level, we choose to either be in or out of most situations. We are knowingly there and, if we are no longer there, we are knowingly not there. Whatever was the cause of any breakdown simply becomes the fuel of growth. Things can never be looked at quite the same way. It is that pain which forms us and pushes us across the boundaries of our evolution.
If someone in our life inadvertently or deliberately points out our hidden issues or touches upon them, most people will quickly deteriorate into an angry, afraid, or passively-angry emotional mess. We may insult the perceived attacker, threaten to withdraw our affection or presence, forcefully explain why they are so mistaken (usually with controlled politeness) or turn into a pillar of ice. In the heat of surfacing repressions which have been unleashed, rationality and open-mindedness are nowhere to be seen. Human nature is very predictable in this way, although quite ridiculous. Eventually, it is outgrown and is no longer needed as a defence mechanism.
Who would ever give up what they thought willingly and without resistance? What we think, what we think will make us happy, what we want, and what we choose as crucial to our being are formed over eons of time and we truly believe those thoughts are right and really will work. It is only when we painfully see that they have major problems that we look for another option and drag ourselves from the quagmire of thinking we already know something to the softness of considering another thought pattern and another way of relating to life.
This article is from Love’s Longing