There are so many things we avoid so as not to feel psychological pain, yet would we really feel pain if we simply faced them? We have been embarrassed or shamed doing a certain activity and will have strong resistance to go back to it. Yet, in the majority of cases going back to these situations would not result in new pain.
We approach the fears of being psychologically hurt in the same way we would deal with physical hurt. Imagine, for example, we touched an electric fence in a field and received a shock – now we associate that fence with the past pain and will not touch it again. It is clear why one would act on the memory of past pain. But in the long run, it may severely limit our future movement.
Seemingly, we do the same thing in the psychological field. An activity or someone has hurt our feelings in the past and we avoid them, and may remain with that stance without really testing it. It becomes a sort of precautionary principle – avoid that person, avoid that situation.
Now, what if someone we trusted switched off the fence, would we touch the cable again? In most cases, we avoid a pain that does not really exist, for when we face it without the weight of the past, without the crease of the remembered pain, nothing really happens. All too often we avoid looking deeper and really re-assess the situation with greater attention. The thing that we feared was pain but that pain is memory and can’t really be felt in the present moment. Be that trusted friend and switch off the power to those limiting past pains that, with renewed attention and care can be faced now without pain.
This series of short posts are part of Incrementally – a 366 day writing challenge.