Pain is a dreaded unpleasant sensation or feeling caused by physical illness or injury. It could also be of non-physical psychological or emotional origin.
Pain, though uncomfortable, is beneficial because it does not only play a crucial role in keeping us alive, but also in the healing process. Emotional pain is an indication that something within us requires attention and needs healing.
When we ignore, suppress or become numb to pain, we become at risk of greater danger. We could hurt, bleed and rot yet feel nothing on a conscious level until it’s too late. Pain does not only forced to stop and pay attention to its cause, but it also forces us to find ways to get relieved.
Suppressing, ignoring or masking pain prolongs and worsens the problem and makes the healing process longer and excruciating.
It is essential that we stopped being preoccupied with avoiding pain. Instead, it is more beneficial to channel that energy into taking a critical look at our selves, our emotions, or feeling to understand why the pain exists in the first place and take active steps to find ways to heal.
Most of our emotional pain is linked to some sort of brokenness which we believe are weaknesses and vulnerabilities. We do not want to be perceived as weak or vulnerable, so we develop self-sabotaging coping mechanisms in other to gain acceptance, the respect of others or fit into a particular group of interest. This stops us from being our authentic self and inevitably robs us of potentially fulfilling relationships.
One of the mistakes we make is in defining ourselves based on the unpleasant past or present occurrences in our lives. When we do that, we are saying this is who we are.
You are not what has happened to you. Your past does not define who you are.
It is also imperative that we come to a place of acceptance of our past no matter how awful they may have been, pick the lessons, and use them as building blocks to becoming a better person.
Individuals who fall int the trap of defining themselves based on unpleasant pasts internalize the pain and at the same time, reject this part of themselves.
The Pain Of The Past Must Be Internally Resolved
Individuals who fail to come to terms with or resolve the internal pain will subconsciously manage it by creating a different version of themselves, a version they would like the world to see. This version is often perfect, flawless and got it all together but often critical of others; this version is THE MASK; it is a wall set up to avoid further reoccurrence of past pain.
We put this perfect and flawless version of ourselves out there like a mask to cover or conceal our real broken selves. We do this because we do not want to be judged the same way we have judged our selves, after all, why shouldn’t others see and judge us harshly as we have done ourselves.
In other to keep the appearance, we become defensive and put up all manner of defence mechanisms, eg.
- We become overly critical and judgmental of others to shift the focus off us onto the other person.
- Being hypersensitive to real or perceived criticism or hurt as that says we are flawed in some way.
- We put up a perfect, strong or intelligent front in order to connect with others.
This means that we have failed at loving and accepting ourselves just as we are. We have been unable to come to terms with certain aspects of life that we have no control over or the power to change.
We need to understand that there is no perfect person out there. Our imperfections are what makes us human. Self-love is crucial to dealing with pain; we are not actively loving ourselves when we mask, ignore or suppress our pain.
One of the disadvantages of these self-sabotaging behaviours is that we also become emotionally numb to the plight of those around us. How can we genuinely give love and show sensitivity to the pain of our loved ones when we are numb to ours?
It starts with you!