While drinking tea with a friend a few days ago, I realized that we walk through life with emotional pain. Honestly… the more people I talk to, the more books I read, the more YouTube videos I watch and the more I think about my own life, the more I realize that we walk through life with emotional pain. Yet so few of us realize this.
Note here that I differentiate between physical and emotional pain. Physical pain is surface level, emotional pain is much deeper. Physical pain is atomic in nature, emotional pain is of another substance. Physical pain is the pain I feel when a bash myself against a rock, emotional pain is pain in my soul.
As I reflected upon this conservation I became aware that the emotional pain that we carry is caused by an event, or many events that almost always involve people. For me I have walked through life with emotional pain caused by multiple incidents of rejection, sexual abuse, mocking, humiliation, being lied to, out bursts of anger and so on. These events involve teachers, friends, family, christian pastors, scout leaders and work managers.
Not only do we walk through life with emotional pain caused by various events, but we also walk through life trying to medicate, or sooth this pain. We do this through countless ways. Personally I have tried rid myself of emotional pain through alcohol, rock climbing, academic achievements, masturbation, coffee, junk food, movies, travel, skiing, leadership books and conferences, religion, and so on the list goes.
How do you cope with your emotional pain?
As I reflected upon our need to rid ourselves of emotional pain I realized that none of these methods work. Although I must add here that they all do temporarily work, which is why we go back to them. When I go for a long hard run I come back and.. wow! The pain has gone away. However, it always returns. This is a big problem.
And so, after paying for counseling, I have finally been shown that to successfully work through my emotional pain I need to
- Firstly admit to myself that I have emotional pain and that the pain is justified. For many years I just ignored the pain, to my destruction. Now after 20 years, I am finally starting to admit to myself and others that I have emotional pain and that the pain that I feel is real and valid.
- Secondly I am taking this emotional pain to my Creator, that is the Lord: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As I daily bring my pain to Him, His grace covers it, enabling me to be healed from the pain. This is not a once off event, but a constant journey of receiving the love of my Maker.
- Thirdly my wife is helping me by understanding the emotional pain, empathizing with me and not trying to fix me. We are all so quick to try to fix people, but the truth is we cannot fix anyone. The best thing we can do it listen, cry, hold and join that person in their pain.