Pain can be physical or emotional. But emotional pain isn’t the same for everybody. We’ve all felt it at one point or another, but how we dealt with it is a totally different story.
Dealing with the pain starts off by identifying its source and though people (mistakenly) allow themselves to embrace their pain as they try to identify it, the mere process of accepting it isn’t enough. I think there are 3 basic ways that people resort to when dealing with pain: sadness, escape, and doubt. These three mechanisms are clearly unhealthy but they happen almost automatically on a psychological level. The extent and longevity at which they are allowed to be experienced isn’t automatic though; these two factors are fed directly or indirectly by the host.
Why are these 3 mechanisms (more like, pitfalls) the ones we resort to?
Sadness because it’s the basic negative emotion. It is a counter emotion but it’s not a limited one – sadness (depending on how severe) can change or give birth to other emotions such as anger or depression.
Escape is veiled in day to day actions but hinted at with excursiveness, excessive sleep, excessive work, outings, drinking, the list stems is virtually endless. You try to avoid accessing the pain, thinking that in time you’ll forget about it.
Doubt is the most agonizing of all coping mechanisms as you hide behind an omniscient question mark, usually one that has no answer. As you try to trap your mind in either past memories with different outcomes (the “if” dilemma) or delusional existential doubt. Generally, none of theses question serves a greater purpose or grants a direct answer; the idea is basically to overload the mind.
Just because these are the most popular and intrinsic coping mechanisms doesn’t mean they’re the only ones out there. There are 3 healthier ones: analyzing, embracing, and forgiving. The catch is they are extremely harder to implement.
Analyzing is tricky as you allow yourself to dig deeper into your wounds, often reliving your fear. And that’s where you might fall into sadness or doubt. But it’s essential. You need to carefully identify the source of your pain and find the root – most pain stems from a latent psychological flaw within yourself. And as you are searching within you, avoid placing blame or judging yourself or another person, try to alienate yourself for your own mind and step outside looking in.
As soon as you find the source don’t strike it, remember that you ventured way deep inside yourself and any strike would only scar you (no innuendo for the dirty minded). Rather this is where the embrace comes in as you accept your flaws (acceptance doesn’t mean you won’t try to change them within a considerable amount of time). Accepting your pain is a hurtful bliss as most people find peace afterwards, but staring your demons in the eye and hugging them could break you.
Then, finally, the hardest part: forgiving. Forgive yourself for falling, forgive those who wronged you, forgive the entire existence and the world for the pain that has fell upon you and that will inevitably pass. The serenity that follows is probably worth your time…maybe even worth the pain.
I have actually never followed these healthier steps for coping and still linger in the doubt phase, but that doesn’t mean I can’t preach.