In the book, Daring Greatly, the author says that when she experiences emotional pain (shame, sadness, grief, betrayal, you get the idea) she says the word pain, pain, pain, over and over again until it passes. I have not yet tried it but I plan to when I experience pain in the future. I don’t know why the idea is so attractive to me, but I just have this feeling that it’s a good idea.
I also read in the book that anger is a secondary emotion. It is a socially acceptable emotion, so ppl tend to display it lavishly… however, grief, sadness, shame, etc.. are not socially acceptable emotions, so ppl do not display it as often as anger. This is fascinating to me and makes me see the world differently. Whenever I experience anger, I will ask myself, “What is the source of this anger.” Usually, I have a feeling, the underlying emotion will be fear.
There is a LOT of pain in the world. Just only recently, there was the Boston Marathon Bombing, the Texas explosion, my friend’s 2 year old has cancer, my sister is in a domestic violence situation, my relationship with my sister is broken, world hunger, guns everywhere, my friend wants to find a man and can’t, world sex trade, child labor, etc… etc… and this. It breaks my heart. All of it.
I know someone who refuses to watch anything but “fun” movies. She says she doesn’t want her mood to be dampened by serious stuff. I mean, I kind of get that… but at the same time I don’t exactly agree with her strategy. I don’t think avoiding thinking about “sad” stuff, makes your life anymore genuinely happy. Avoiding pain, does not make the pain go away. It kind of makes “life” go away. It makes you live a dead life. That is what I think.
I’ve realized that the more I look at, feel, embrace the pain of others, the less painful my own pain feels. I become right sized. The more compassion (suffer with) I feel, the less self pity. The more I share the sufferings of others, the less debilitating my own shame, guilt, flaw is to me.
I don’t have any wise insights about what this means. I guess it could mean that when I’m in pain, look around. When I am self-focused, that pain will only get bigger and the pity party will get wilder. Look around and see that others may be fighting much scarier battles than I… and take courage and encouragement from that.