Pain is a yin yang kind of thing
Pain can either be a
transformative force in our lives
or it can be a destructive one.
Often it is a bit of both.
Much of it is dependent upon
how we perceive and interact with our pain.
Different reactions to pain
For some people pain ends up being something that keeps dragging them down.
There are other people who will experience
a very similar type of pain
and yet it seems to stir something in them to change.
We are all right where we need to be
I am NOT judging one or the other particularly
because I believe everyone is at their own place on the path
and we all need different things at different times.
I do think though there are times when
we can choose our perspective and our interaction with pain.
The more we realize and take advantage of this choice
the more our quality of life can improve.
In a totally unexpected turn of events I will relate this concept to parenting
Everyone of us makes mistakes with our kids.
We all do things to hurt them and
we know they will carry those wounds with them
everywhere they go
for the rest of their lives.
Processing the pain
When this happens to me I engage in
two separate processes at the same time.
First, Love and Healing
It definitely hurts me when I know
I have caused my daughter pain.
Therefore the first thing I do is to
love and forgive myself.
I do not want beat myself up and condemn myself over it.
Take it out on other people
If I end up not liking myself because I made a mistake
I take out my negative feelings
on my child and everyone I interact with in some way.
The final result being I make myself feel bad
and everyone else too.
Not a very efficient system.
Feel the Burn
The second part of this is to acknowledge
what I have done wrong and
do my best to learn from it.
Part of this process is to
allow myself to deeply feel the pain, remorse and
regret burning in my chest and stomach.
I do not push that pain away.
I do not try and avoid feeling bad
about hurting my daughter
The Pain Drives Me
I let that pain into me and feel it fully because
it supplies tremendous energy to motivate me to change.
Combine the opposites
It is in combining the two approaches:
1. deeply loving and forgiving myself
2. feeling the pain without avoidance or resistance
and pointing them both towards
having a determination to change,
that true holistic progress can be made.
Imbalance invites avoidance
I have found that when one or the other is stressed more
it is usually for the purpose of
avoiding the change that is required.
If I do the work to forgive and accept myself,
but I do it to avoid feeling the pain
rather than accepting the pain
then when I say something like
“I’m not going to feel bad for what I did.”
the subtext is
“so that I can continue acting the same way
without making a deep effort to change.”
Imbalanced Pain Paralyzes Action
On the other hand if I feel the pain,
even with the intense desire to change,
but I do not do the work on forgiving and loving myself
then I will be too deeply affected by the pain
and feeling bad about myself
to make real change.
Evolution is accelerated when we combine seemingly opposing approaches
When we love ourselves
and feel the pain at the same time
we can enjoy real progress.
This leads to continuous evolution as a parent.
The evolving parent
I often say it is important for us
not to think of ourselves as bad parents
nor to think we are perfect parents,
but to recognize ourselves as evolving parents.
Evolving means we can accept ourselves
where we are, as we are
and at the same time we can strive for something deeper.