Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Its only Pain...
This blog might be considered almost a trilogy with the past two blogs on "writing our own story" and dealing with depression or "losing hope". All enthralling stories (and lives) involve drama and anxiety of some kind or dark times dealing with PAIN.
PAIN typically is unpleasant, but often it serves a positive purpose. When we are children, it is pain that teaches us not to put our fingers close to the fire or stay out in they sun for too long. As teenagers, we learn the pain of rejection which forces us to consider how we will identify ourselves against "the crowd" and address our individuality. As young adults many of us learn the ill effects of overindulgence in recreational party activities which can bring head or body aches. As we grow older, we begin experiencing the loss of grandparents or parents which pain of loss reminds us of our own mortality.
In all these cases pain is the experience that teaches us and reminds us we are still alive and feeling. Without pain we would basically be zombies running around the planet without purpose or care...oblivious to the results of cause and effect as we make choices and pay the consequences of those choices.
Pain tells us when we have done something wrong. Pain warns us when we have stretched our physical limits beyond reason. Pain sometimes reveals to us how much we cared...often more than we consciously thought.
How we deal with or manage pain determines much of our success in this life. Some people get so caught up in their pain that they cannot think of anything beyond it while others run full blast through their literal or figurative pain as if it was not there. It is always admirable to us when we observe someone persevere or thrive on their pain. We have all witnessed the miraculous comeback of a sports figure who somehow plays and excels while injured...while others quickly crumble and give in to the pain as a debilitator. Some of us have a higher threshold than others when it comes to pain. It has been my observation...and experience...that when we decide to or are pressed to...we can accomplish a lot even during injurious periods of our lives. As the old saying goes..."mind over matter" sometimes works. Sometimes pain is a motivator...whether that is to succeed or to sometimes "get even".
Overall, pain is a good thing as long as we don't ignore it or allow it undo control in our lives. Usually we need to do something in reaction to pain. We have to rest or rehabilitate a body part that may be over-stressed by our activities. If we have a cough or unusual aches in our bodies, it is often a sign that it is time to see a doctor and find out what is wrong with us. We may need to give up some of our bad habits to escape pain.
When it comes to painful relationships, it is often times more difficult to be rationale or understanding about what is causing the pain. Sometimes we have unreasonable expectations of other people...holding them to standards they can never maintain. Other times we feel pain when someone we are attracted to do not reciprocate our interest. Like that blues ballad..."I can't make you love me if you don't...You cant make your heart feel something it won't"...
One could argue that a life without pain would be tremendously vacuous. Many sayings such as "no pain, no gain" support the concept that we cannot get ahead in life or relationships without taking risks. It is painful to lose money you risked in a business or investment. It is also painful to end up with nothing out of a relationship that you invested years in. While pain of loss in either sentiment is no fun...it can be very instructive as to what we should NOT do again. As long as we learn from pain and not let it overcome us, we will grow from it. Pain can be GOOD!
If we begin to understand and embrace pain as our lifelong instructor, we can then begin to push our boundaries either self imposed or imposed by others and push through the pain to self understanding and enlightenment. It is good to know our limits...and we will never know them until we push them and pain tells us where we are at. We will never know love or passion to any great extent until we have been through a number of relationships that helped advise us who was compatible and who was not. Some of us are gluttons for punishment, putting ourselves in the same situations or relationships time and time again. I guess that is one way of dealing with pain...but I might suggest that pain should not be a CONSTANT condition in life. There comes a time where you settle for your limits or put borders up against certain people or experiences in the future. Pain is often a choice.
After my last blog about "Losing Hope", I was instructed by a couple different people that many depressed people who are in pain have nothing to do with it. It seems to be hereditary in many cases and for some only controlled by pharmaceuticals. I accept this as fact, yet I still continue to believe in the minds potential to learn how to channel these emotions and control them to a certain extent. The pain is there...but the more we share it and try to understand it...the better chance I believe we have of dealing with and categorizing the pain. The sooner we recognize it for what it is...the sooner we can let pain do positive things for us...just as long as we don't totally succumb to an ideology that pain will always be with us...or also the opposite...that we should avoid pain at all costs. Both of those concepts can tremendously limit us in this life.
When one understands pain, one begins to understand people's escape into alcohol, food, drugs, sex and other such activities. While these habits can be addictive, I think many find those experiences to be the only way to get temporary relief...from their pain. I find it amazing how our institutions want to put people in jail...for simply trying to escape their painful realities. It is a travesty that our modern day institutional and even religious morality is to criminalize hurting people versus helping them. Sometimes its good to take a break from pain. So...in moderation...I recommend we eat, drink and be merry. After all...its only PAIN!