Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dealing With Emotional Pain

- by Ayesha Parveen 31 Oct 2008
Category: Lifestyle.
story has been read 461 times.
There are two basic explanations of why we suffer pain: some people look upon it as a punitive measure for wrong deeds committed and some say pain is there to test our endurance and thus, it has the potential to strengthen us to face further challenges in life. Whatever might be a person’s philosophy of the reason for pain, it is imperative to deal with pain properly or it can crush a person’s morale and de-motivate him completely. Dealing with physical pain is the domain of doctors of medicine; in this article, we will see what can be done about emotional pain, an inevitable experience in every person’s life.

Interacting with people:
For familial, social and professional reasons, we often have to interact with people who cause us a lot of emotional pain. They use harsh words, give out negative vibes and will only focus on what they think to be our mistakes. In other words, these are the people who have the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude; they behave as if they ‘know all’ and love to verbally ‘throw acid’ on others. Life would have been simplified if we could completely avoid such people, but alas, that is not to be. So, when we cannot avoid their physical presence, what we can do is to build an emotional shield against them. This needs some effort on our part and includes self-talk. We must repeatedly tell ourselves that the negative people do not matter to us emotionally, and thus, their words do not have any significance for us. At the same time, we can politely but assertively make it clear to them that we are not interested in what they say. This can be done if we choose to communicate with them only when it becomes necessary, and not otherwise.

Opinions, own and others’:
One sure way of making your life miserable is by letting other people put ideas into your head. If you like to wear green, go ahead and wear that colour even if your ‘best friend’ says red suits you better. At the end of the day, you will feel a lot happier to be able to live your life than if you had allowed another to dominate you. I often come across women who say they have to ask their husbands if they can keep their hair short or have it long. (The hair is growing on one person’s head and another dictates the hairstyle!) If your choice does not cause unfairness to another person, you have a right to it. One way of asserting yourself in matters of choice and opinion is by saying, “Thank you for your opinion. However, I think and decide for myself.”

Deciding your course of action:
Once we do not let other people’s opinions affect us, we move on to decision-making. If we let others decide what is important for us, we become emotional- slaves. Without self-realization of values, hopes and ambitions, a person’s life becomes thwarted. We have this life for a short period of time, a few decades, and if a person does not genuinely try to become all that he has the potential to be, he might die a very frustrated and sad person indeed. All our dreams may not be fulfilled but we should try to materialize them, nevertheless. If you honestly feel for a cause, have a passion for a dream and toil effortlessly to reach your goals, you are definitely heading for some success. However, the first criterion is that the cause and the dream have to be your very own; another person should not decide for you.

Moving beyond forgiveness and punishment:
Often we come across people who talk non-stop about forgiving others. They say we must forgive everyone everything. Is it possible to forgive a spouse who betrays your trust or a ‘friend’ who stabs you from behind? Would you forgive a sadist who takes pleasure in hurting children? More important than whether it is possible to forgive everyone, is the question of right and wrong in forgiving. I personally think it is neither right nor possible to forgive everyone everything. If we forgive all, we draw no line between right and wrong, between good and evil. However, this does not mean we propagate hatred and nurse a grudge against someone who has grievously hurt us. Furthermore, it does not mean we take the law in our own hands. What is important is to get emotionally detached from the person who has seriously hurt us and let time decide what happens to the wrong-doer. This is what I would call moving beyond forgiveness and punishment. For the sake of sanity and justice, sometimes, divorces and break-ups become the only way out.

Be your own best friend and you will find it easier to deal with emotional pain. The people who hurt you are not worth holding on to. If you are kind and just to yourself, not only will you be happier, but, by setting an example, you will also encourage others to be so.


Ayesha Parveen said...

MSN Readers' comments:

Swetha Amit - Mumbai on 11/1/2008 9:27:46 AM
Very thought provoking one, Ayesha. liked this line esp "Be your own best friend and you will find it easier to deal with emotional pain." It took me back to the workshop I attended as a part of my course on psychological counselling skills where they emphasized that what we think of ourselves is more important than what others think of us. And it is very true as we use this weapon to cruise through life's thorns.

Bobby Sakariah - Jeddah on 11/1/2008 1:17:33 PM
Nice article. One needs to be firm (talk or act tough) with wrong people. They do not see reason in what they do. They also do not know the limit.

Ayesha Parveen said...

MSN Readers' comments:

M.Lokeswara Rao - Bangalore on 11/1/2008 5:39:24 AM
very good article, give and take are most important in life.

KP - Chennai on 10/31/2008 8:15:54 PM
Superb,Ayesha. All the points are unexceptionable.

sk jaiswal - new delhi on 11/1/2008 1:59:18 PM
Hi bosssss, great article.... and your line "Be your own best friend and you will find it easier to deal with emotional pain" reminds me of a quote - "apne darr par kabu rakh lo maut khud ba khud bhag jayegi."

Ayesha Parveen said...

MSN Readers' comments:

Ramesh Padmanabhan - Chennai on 10/31/2008 11:22:06 PM
Ayesha, Excellent and well written. Too many good and powerful topics.With your style of writing and capability, I wish you could have written three articles instead of one.

sharmishtha - kolkata on 10/31/2008 7:29:54 PM
marvellous post. i agree on all points. one should always be loyal, honest to oneself. he will solve half of his problems.

Ajaykumar - bangalore on 11/3/2008 1:02:29 PM

Ayesha Parveen said...

MSN Readers' comments:

TVS - USA on 10/31/2008 9:55:15 PM
AYESHA,GR8 article.. I have a question and wonder whether U can solve this: A friend of mine is married to an NRI in US. It was apprently a "love at first INTERNET" so to say. AFTER she got to go to the USA she found certain things causing her lot of emotional turmoi:- 01.Her husband was unable to give up his "smoking"; and this led to constant tiffs early in her marriage...until she gave up trying to correct him...instead nailed it all to her Destiny...ready for whatever happens; 02.He could not give up guzzling beer after work every evening. She didn't mind this as he NEVER went berserk or drunk. 03.He used to sleep very late every night. As a result he would not join her in bed. He would be at his laptop watching a movie or various News,and also be engaged in work from home things. What do you figure out as the best strategy she can have to keep her marriage ALIVE and happy?

ayesha parveen - kolkata on 10/31/2008 10:46:31 PM
TVS, your friend seems to be tolerating emotional nuisance more than emotional pain. It is up to her to decide if her marriage is worth the effort or not. Perhaps she might do some harmless but idiotic things to be a nuisance to her husband; not as revenge, but as a last, desperate effort to make him see sense. Best wishes.

Ayesha Parveen said...

The writer's additional comments on personal space and the issue of forgiveness:

Dear .., the people in our personal lives who hurt us are our personal-criminals and I may choose not to forgive them. This article clearly mentions moving beyond the whole issue of forgiveness. If you read carefully, you will see I have mentioned not holding a grudge against wrong-doers. But that does not mean we start loving or trusting them again. Only emotionally immature people do so. Some hurts are so deep that even looking at the face of the person who has caused the pain, is like a whip-lash. There is no question of forgiving, then. I pray to God you do not have to go through such pain that even looking at the face of the tormentor means you are letting the torture happen again. What forgiveness,.. ? Best wishes.

ayesha parveen - kolkata on 10/31/2008 11:38:15 PM
.., I agree that sometimes we need to make little sacrifices; however, these should be mutual and not be at the cost of self-respect or personal choices or they become acts of being dominated. All said and done, we are different to other animals because we can think and decide for ourselves. Personal space is very important for self-development as well as keeping relationships healthy. Best wishes.

ayesha parveen - kolkata on 11/4/2008 5:49:26 PM
...Too much of forgiveness is unforgivable. .., as I had stated in my last article, some hurts are so deep that they should not be forgiven. In fact even looking at the face of some people who have repeatedly been cruel, is a torture and should be avoided as much as possible. Whatever you say, I have to be honest with myself. I will not pretend to be all-forgiving in order to please anyone. Will you tell Jews who lost family members to Nazi torture, to forgive Hitler? How fair will that be? No matter what your faith is, if it has any concept of right and wrong, it will not talk about forgiving everyone everything. Why should I forgive a person if I have loved and trusted him and he repeatedly stabs me?

ayesha parveen - kolkata on 11/8/2008 7:43:25 PM
Dear .., I never said that we should deliberately remember those who have hurt us seriously and thus nurture the pain! All I said was that it is not right to forgive everyone everything. If we forgive all, there remains no socio-moral incentive for good people...