Wouldn't it be nice if we did not have to experience pain? Unfortunately, that is not the case! Pain can be wildly uncomfortable but it can be beautiful also. So, what is it about pain that simply knocks the wind out us? Why do we avoid it at all costs? For many, the striking realities of pain takes us to a side of ourselves that we guard and protect with our life! Its fight or flight, right? However, we can learn and grow from pain. Pain can show us true vulnerabilities within our human nature. If we fall from a tree and happen to hurt ourselves, we know what not to do again, hopefully! In relationships, if we avoid placing unrealistic expectations on others, we can better thrive in difficult times when life gets stressful and unmanageable because we discover our inner strengths and realize our own personal happiness should not rest in someone else's hands. Basically, if I determine that I will not be happy if "this or that" is not in place, then I've ultimately set myself up to be unhappy with anything else that does not comply with "this" or "that". This is a good example of how anxiety and depression can begin to take control in our lives because internally we've told ourselves that peace doesn't exist outside of "my box" therefore, outside of it, there is fear of pain, rejection and being disappointed.
We can send powerful messages to ourselves consciously and subconsciously that may begin to cause dysfunction within our health biologically, psychologically, and spiritually which can affect how we manage life and relate to others socially. Pain is not always beautiful but it can serve to strengthen us in many ways when we embrace what makes us uncomfortable about it. So, the next time someone rubs you the wrong way, even if that person may be wrong in their actions, stop and examine your feelings.
For example, as a mother, I get frustrated when I confront my child about something and they "huff and puff" and roll their eyes. Everything in me sees it as disrespectful and rude and I go all the way back to my childhood where "back in the day" that was just something you didn't do or else! It simply causes me pain to experience such disrespect. So, if I make "no eye rolling" one of "my box" rules, every time they do it, I am going to have a mental meltdown. In this case, I've done nothing but set myself up for failure. Is it o.k that they roll their eyes and be angry at something I have said? Yes. Because in all honesty, I'm probably rolling mine too!
We cannot take away someone's ability to experience an emotion about what we may be communicating. If we do, we indirectly teach our children or our loved ones, "It's not safe to feel". My child will still have to follow the rules but I still need to accept they may not be happy about it, and that's o.k. Going deeper, I then need to examine why I would need them to be happy about what I am trying to communicate. I have to check my own ego to determine what vulnerabilities exist in me that trigger my anger about the situation. In this scenario, it stems back to my inner fears as a child of not being heard or validated. If we are not careful, we can make our loved ones pay unnecessarily for core fears we've carried across our lifetime that has nothing to do with them.
Our inner pains can lead us to make emotional decisions that further cripple ourselves and the ones we love. So, I can respond with brute anger and tackle them down and show them who's boss or I can just learn to be o.k. with the many varying emotions of others. Definitely sounds easier than it is! For me, it's a working progress and I certainly have not mastered it. My kids love reminding me that I'm "helicopter hovering" at times and my oldest child loves to just stare at me and say, "meh" (some kind of minion sound, i think, lol). It's not easy but communication can be easier when we learn to adapt to one another.
Pain does not have to drive us to dark places. Pain can be beautiful when we grow to identify and embrace vulnerable places within us verses running from them. So, try opening "your box". Look at the things that have been stored there throughout your lifetime. What rules of the past have you placed on yourself and others that affect how you manage the present to protect yourself from experiencing discomfort and pain? Pick it up, roll it around, look at it and consider finally working through it. Some things may require the help and guidance of a professional but pain does not have to be a crutch. Embracing the good and the bad within our journey can provide new pathways to healing and a personal sense of freedom. Be good to yourself. Embrace the journey!