Finding the Path Towards Healing
Every person, at their core, is beautiful.
Posted Feb 22, 2021
It’s inevitable that we’ll all experience suffering throughout our lives. Some people experience this pain early on, while others don’t experience suffering until later in their lives. When we first experience this pain, it’s normal to think, "How do I make this stop?" However, the danger with going down this path is we don’t allow ourselves the space to heal.
When we suffer, we have two choices: to try to heal our painful emotions or numb ourselves, so we don’t feel anything. The path we choose is critical in our journey to happiness because one path leads us towards healing and eventual happiness, while the other path leads us towards more pain and suffering.
It’s easy to numb our pain these days. But if we choose this route, there are usually devastating consequences. Initially, numbing our feelings feels like a relief. There aren’t too many consequences when we numb ourselves for the first time, but eventually, we’ll keep using this coping method, and it becomes an addiction.
Once we replace our pain with addiction, it will eventually bring up more intense feelings of pain and suffering. We get caught in the cycle of numbing our pain and needing more of our painkiller of choice to keep numbing the pain over time.
It is human nature to shy away from painful feelings. People who numb themselves are not bad. They are simply having a human reaction by craving relief from the painful parts of life. What they’re feeling is so overwhelming that all they need is some momentary relief from the agony. The struggle with this pattern is that the pain then starts to permeate every aspect of their life.
Have you ever seen the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? It was filmed in 1993 and stars a much younger Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio. There’s a story that unfolds about Gilbert Grape’s mother, who is lovingly called "Momma." Momma isn’t able to leave the house because she weighs over 500 pounds. Throughout the movie, the audience learns how she gets to be this way.
We discover that the root cause of her food addiction is pain. Many years ago, her husband hung himself, leaving her as a single mother of four children. After his death, the pain was too much to bear, so she turned to food to bring her comfort. She continued to gain weight and became too embarrassed to leave the house. This embarrassment caused her more pain, which led her to eat more food and created a vicious cycle.
I love Momma’s character. She is an incredible woman who has been through so much in her life. To support the ones we love and ourselves, we must come from a place of compassion and understanding.
People turn towards addiction and painkillers because they are hurting. When people lead happy and fulfilling lives, it’s rare that they one day decide to try drugs. Most addictions stem from the urge to make some sort of suffering stop. People use things like drugs, food, alcohol, sex, and video games to make life a tiny bit more bearable.
If we want to improve our lives, we must stop judging our own addictions or the addictions of others. Every person, at their core, is beautiful. Instead of judging the addiction, we can begin asking the following questions: What’s going on here? Why am I (or they) turning towards this pain killer? What is the root cause of this pain? We are all capable of getting better and healing that pain, but it starts with being curious about the very thing that’s causing us to suffer.
We are here on this Earth to improve ourselves and our lives. When we choose to numb our pain vs. facing it head-on, we are able to stop it in the short term, just for a moment. And that moment of being pain-free feels so good. But then we become addicted to that relief, and we are willing to sacrifice anything to get feeling again. In the long run, this type of medication doesn’t heal our pain; it only adds to it.
If we choose to numb ourselves, the pain stays there and eventually gets infected and, in extreme cases, may kill us. Emotions are similar. When we’re feeling emotional pain, we must heal those feelings. What happens if we don’t have the right tools to heal ourselves?
The first step is to figure out if there is pain in our lives. Next, we can explore if there are things happening, or that have happened in the past, that are causing us pain right now? If there are, we know we have two choices: to either numb ourselves or travel down a path towards healing.
This choice sounds simple—so why doesn’t everyone choose the healing path? Let’s look at an example. You cut yourself very badly, badly enough that you need to go to the ER. At the hospital, they rinse out the cut rigorously, and this process is very painful without any painkillers.
Instead of rinsing out the cut, it might be easier to just numb the area, so we don’t have to feel any pain. But, this won’t make us better. It may make us feel better in the short term, but we can only avoid the healing process for so long.
If you’re reading this right now, and you’re struggling with managing your pain, it’s important to forgive yourself and cease the judgment. Instead of telling yourself the narrative that you’re bad or not strong enough, you should instead ask yourself, "what do I need to get better?" From here, it’s important to take it one day at a time. It can be hard and painful, but if you focus on the goal of making your life a little bit better than yesterday, it will eventually become easier, and life won’t feel quite as painful.
Along with looking inward and asking how we can heal ourselves, we can seek support from people who can help us. These people, just like this podcast, can offer new insights and tools to help us lead a happier and more fulfilled life. The key is to continue developing these skills each and every day. When we develop these skills, we can get better at dealing with painful things that happen throughout our lives.
The ultimate goal is to become comfortable dealing with life’s ups and downs. It will always be tempting to turn towards things that numb our pain. But if we can develop skills that will lead us to live a happier life, perhaps from outside help or by listening to this podcast, we can eventually choose to heal our emotions over numbing them. We can reach a point where we say that life is good.