Have you ever had such physical pain that you couldn’t focus on anything or anyone else? I think we can all come up with a “Yes” to that question.
Reminds me of a personal experience . . . About 20 years ago I was writhing in pain lying on a hospital gurney. All I could focus on was getting relief from the pain a kidney stone was causing. I couldn’t focus on anything but the pain. I remember saying to myself, “I don’t care if I die, I just want this pain to go away.”
I’m sure you can come up with your version of my story. Lucky for me, I was able to get powerful pain meds and eventually went on to pass the stone. It’s also fortunate that we, as humans, cannot remember the actual, physical pain.
Such is not the case with emotional pain. We can conjure it up at a moment’s notice. We can relive a past incident in our mind and all the attendant anguish and pain can flood our mind and body like it’s happening all over again. The incident is over but the pain lives on.
But there is another aspect to emotional pain – that it can be caused by something out of our awareness. Sometimes that hidden cause can cause us to act a certain way, a way we’ve grown accustomed to that may not serve our best interest.
Back to not being able to focus on anything or anybody, someone unknowingly steeped in emotional pain can easily gravitate to becoming a loner. They profess to not need what most other people crave – the company of others. They appear stoic on the surface, but smoldering beneath burns the fire to be included. The sad part of this story is that this person may believe the surface them “is just the way I am.”
Unnoticed emotional pain can cause us to act out in ways that just don’t make sense to those attempting to love us. Even though we’re unaware of the pain, we take actions to numb it. Some turn to abusing alcohol or drugs, others withdraw to isolation to suffer in silence. There are countless ways we attempt to numb what we don’t know about.
So how do we shine the light of day on hidden pain so we can acknowledge its existence – the first step to alleviating it?
Become aware that your repeated, unproductive actions have a cause. You don’t have to unearth the specific cause, just recognize that there is one. Just acknowledging that there is a cause puts that causitive part of you on alert that you’re paying attention. This attention, applied over time, causes what’s causing your pain to incrementally rise to the surface where you can more easily address it.
This process is the same as intuitively knowing there is an answer to a dilemma even though you don’t yet know the answer. Think Thomas Edison.
Withdrawing from life? Numbing yourself? There’s a cause even though you may not be able to put your finger on it. Recognizing that, puts you on a path towards pain alleviation, progressing you towards including again, and updating your actions so that numbness and isolation are not automatic choices.
All the best,
Be Sociable, Share!