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Why Bother Acknowledging Pain?

Two weeks ago, while on my road bike, I ran head first into a post. The post did not suffer any damages, but I did. First, I was knocked out cold for two minutes, then a day or so later, other physical effects began showing up; a large bruise on my leg, a stiff hip, and a sore neck. Thankfully, I can say that my body has fully recovered from the trauma it experienced and for this I am grateful. 

         Healing our Wounds

How the body heals is amazing. I’ve grown new skin to replace the road rash I suffered on my knee and back, and my stiff hip is no longer stiff. How my body healed itself is a bit of a mystery to me. But I think one’s physical healing has something to do with the overall health of one’s system. In other words, because I eat well, drink plenty of water, exercise and get enough sleep, my body is fairly healthy and a fairly healthy body heals well. If on the other hand, my system was already compromised in some way, my healing would have also been compromised. 

What is true physically, I believe it also holds true mentally. Mental health matters just as much as our physical health and taking care to take care of our emotional wounds will help us to stay mentally well. 

I am convinced that one thing that all human beings have in common is emotional pain. By the time each of us reaches adulthood, we’ve all experienced, to some degree or another, loss or disappointment along the way. 

Though my siblings and I grew up within an unhealthy system; the loss of our dad by suicide along with being children of an alcoholic,  some of my siblings and I have learned and continue to learn how acknowledge our pain which helps to heal those wounds inflicted upon us in childhood. 

Unlike the body that can sometimes heal naturally, healing our emotional wounds can take a bit more of a conscious effort. But healing is possible when we decide to address our issues. 

For instance, we can find thousands of distractions in our world today that keep us from acknowledging our emotional pain, but I believe the first step to being mentally well is recognizing that we’ve been wounded in the first place. 

Though admitting our pain may feel overwhelming, threatening and very scary at first, more than likely it is because we’ve worked very hard to ignore it. When we decide to pay attention to it, of course it will feel like a foreign object we want to dislodge ourselves from as soon as possible.  

Those who deny the trauma that they’ve experienced in their lives have patterns of behavior which cause difficulty with interpersonal relationships, a tendency to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, are inclined to isolate themselves from friends and family because of shame, and experience more anger than peace.

When we choose to face the pain, the process of healing will take pounds of patience with ourselves, more time than what we think it should,  and perhaps a little help from a friend and or counselor. 

Why bother acknowledging pain?  We may have survived quite a few tragedies as kids, but as adults, it is no longer about survival, it is about learning how to live better lives. 

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