Pain! What a Metaphor!

     I’m hoping by now you get that pain is not just physical! Think how miraculous your mind and body are because you are born with an ability to recognize that your pain is a positive signal that you’re hurting; that you’re hungry, that you need to be changed, that you’re tired, that you want to communicate with someone special who can help you. 

     You learn that some levels of pain need to be tolerated. You learn how to delay gratifications and tolerate frustrations.Your acquiring language skills helps you to improve your ability to develop an ‘inner voice to self-soothe and self-monitor how you’re doing and what you need to think, say or do to lower your pain. 

       Then comes your having to cope with what Judith Viorst calls necessary losses. What’s the problem with healthy mourning?  After all, the price you pay for closeness and attachment is loss.If you didn’t feel pain about losses or think that grieving isn’t acceptable , then you’re fooling yourself. I consider it healthy sadness or mourning.  Lif you say something like, “I’ve experienced enough pain in my life (through early trauma, deaths, parental divorce, rejections), I never want to feel pain again!” or “I have to be strong” or “I’m weak if I cry”, then you’ll do anything to avoid experiencing a biological, human condition. You’re  only making your pain worse if you do this.  You may self-medicate like turning to drinking or smoking more cannabis or taking opioids  to ‘inoculate your pain. You may internalize and constrict your feelings,  leaving you  more susceptible to physical conditions, or you can withdraw from others, just when you need them the most.

    Did you ever wonder why you feel better after you throw up? Because your brain signals to your body that the substance (s) you just took wasn’t good for you.

    Learn to trust your body signals!  Realize that having some levels of (thinking, emotional or physical) pain helps you to reframe pain as a challenge and opportunity to grow. It’s only when you have more than moderate levels of pain that you need to be concerned.

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