There are obvious caveats to consider. I trust you to know what they are. Still, emotional pain will not go away by ignoring it. It wants to be felt, processed, and released. Unacknowledged emotional pain festers and screams like an angry crowd; it demands to be heard. If you want pain to dissipate then you will have to chew it up and spit it out, not suck it up. Geez-o-Pete, do you want to end up with the psychological equivalent of a sinus infection? Emotional pain is powerful stuff. Left unattended it will find insidious ways to get your attention despite all your good intentions for "soldiering on."
If you are lucky, you might have a friend who is a good listener. Sadly, I am not talking about a "fixer" friend. Fixers are good hearted people who care about you and want very much to help. However, they have their own pain to contend with. Their pain makes it hard for them to just listen to you speak the unspeakable, even though they really, really want to. I know because I am a fixer... I am freakin' useless sometimes, jumping in ready to fight other people's fights, warding off evil, controlling the hell out of every thing, frantically filled with "good ideas" and best intentions. Sometimes I exhaust myself (and others). Maybe most of the time.
When I am in pain but I don't have a friend who is a good listener, I pay someone to listen to me. Why not? In fact, seeing a gifted therapist is often the best way for me. However, if I cannot afford (or find) a gifted therapist, then I keep a private journal. I write whatever comes to mind. I like to imagine converting emotional pain into words is a magical release spell. Humor me if you can. I'm trying to fix things here. Relaxare!
I try not to pay attention to guilt trippers. You know, the people who infer that your pain is self-indulgent and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. If I feel it, it is real. I cannot help fight the world's pain if I haven't first resolved my own. Guilt trippers want to shut us up and shut us down. That doesn't seem helpful or kind, does it? To be honest (and compassionate) guilt trippers probably do this because they have their own unresolved pain. I get it. I know they mean well. Still, they can get in the way of personal growth just as effectively as us fixers.
I want to be helpful, kind, and compassionate. I also want to be thankful, grateful, and look on that damn bright side. Truly. But I also want to be honest, courageous, and strong. Sometimes that involves facing your own pain first. THEN you can safely help the passenger in the seat next to you put on their oxygen mask.
I might have stolen that last sentence from some other blogger's recent blog. It sounds disturbingly familiar. If I have stolen your thought and you read this, please comment so you can take credit for it. I will apologize. It will assuage my guilt.
|Sometimes I think Jiminy Cricket was just a nagging, chirping grasshopper|