09 Aug Mastering your Pain – Growing Up
I have been reading a very interesting book lately and it assisted me look at the spiritual path in a different light than I had before, so I thought I would share it with you.
If you were abused, or the opposite mollycoddled as a child, and there was no-one or nothing to trust, or if everything was unpredictable and you didn’t know what might happen from one moment to the next, parts of a person tend to get stuck in the child developmental stage. This stage leaves someone stuck in childish selfishness and life becomes all about me, me, me. Think of a child throwing a tantrum – we all know what this stage feels like.
If you were bullied at some stage, or went through some type of trauma or neglect growing up, and felt on some level that no-one would ever like or respect you ‘unconditionally’, a belief becomes formed that attention and affection, love and respect must be ‘hard won’ through certain types of actions such as by the way you dress, act, walk, the way you look, the things you possess etc. This belief can be conscious or buried in the unconscious mind. A bargaining game occurs in which you do things only if it is worth the pain it will take, or I will do something for someone else if you get something in return. Parts of a person become stuck in this adolescent developmental stage. A belief is formulated that this is just ‘how life is’.
Adulthood virtues involve living a way of life that is very different to these prior two. Adults have faith and love others even if they may not be loved in return. They love unconditionally without expecting anything in return and deal with whatever comes their way. They do their best, regardless of the circumstances. Adults realise that there is no avoiding pain, and learn to dive into the depths of it. They let go of a desire for everything to be better or pleasant or heaps of FUN! They realise that it ‘is what it is’ in pure acceptance. They realise pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice. Sounds a lot like the spiritual path to me! Does this mean that taking the narrow path is actually akin to ‘growing up’? Does this also mean that constantly trying to make everything in your life ‘happy’ all the time, is actually avoiding maturity and growing up? Pain is a constant, but we can learn to look at how we can grow from it and find meaning in it and understand what it has to teach us, instead of avoiding and suppressing it by whatever means is easiest for us. Pain is a signal for us to respond to what is going on in our worlds, messages from the universe. We all have many parts and different parts can be stuck in different stages. Does being ‘fully adult’ mean that you have all of your parts in adulthood?
The author goes on to say, that the quality of our lives is determined by our character and our character is determined by our relationship to pain. He concludes with one statement, “Master your own pain”. Certainly food for thought!
The therapists on this site work daily on mastering their own pain and can assist you along this path as well.
The book by the way is called ‘Everything is Fucked’ by Mark Manson.
With much love, Nikii