Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Pain That is Necessary to Live

The ancient belief that the heart was the universal center of emotion in the human body is not far off really. While we now know that the brain serves this function, we still feel such emotions as heartache, or emotions that are heart felt, and we can be heart broken over some event or thing. Some of us wear our hearts on our sleeves and some of us are known for our good heartedness. Some emotions literally make our hearts race, or cause us to feel as if our hearts have stopped beating.

The reason we react to this emotional pain, if we are emotionally healthy, is because we are feeling beings, and are empathetic and sympathetic. It is because we are alive. Emotional pain is necessary to life. And, there is no shame in seeking the help of others in coping with, recovering from and accepting such emotional pain.

No one ever wants to be physically or emotionally injured, but it is unavoidable in this life. Like the body’s response to physical pain, emotional pain is a defense mechanism. If it is ignored, greater injury can occur. When properly attended to healing, growth and understanding can occur and this helps to provide balance and proportion in our lives. Grief, disappointment, sadness, depression, doubt, frustration, anger and many other emotional responses all play their part in our daily lives. It is how we deal with any of them that makes the difference.

By the same token, putting our hearts out there, in harm’s way if you will, is also important to living. People can protect themselves by avoiding emotion and therefore any associated pain, but that would be avoiding life. As the saying goes, “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” When we lose a member of our family, a friend or loved colleague, isn’t it better to feel the pain of their loss than to never have known them? Of course it is terribly hard at first, but we have to hope that what remains in the end is the memory, the love, the joy and all those things that ultimately extinguish any pain.

Don’t be afraid to love. Don’t be afraid to care. Don’t be afraid to give. But most of all don’t be afraid of the pain that is necessary to live.