Types of Emotional Pain

Following on from last month and changing myself, the next thing I learnt that helped me come to wholeness was to learn the difference between emotional pain that heals and emotional pain that keeps you in dysfunction. There are two kinds of emotional pain. One leads to healing and one doesn’t. The first one is one I sat in for twenty years. It is very painful, and can lead to depression and even suicide. It is the kind of pain where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Deep hopelessness. Or the going around the mountain time and time again, being hurt over and over in the same way and not being able to get free of it. Or where you can describe your thoughts as a can of worms, where you cannot stop thinking negatively. It is absolutely unproductive.

The second is emotional pain that slowly produces growth and healing. This kind can seem to be just as painful, but we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What is the difference between the two? It is our attitude to the pain. If we have an attitude of “I don’t deserve all that has happened to me”. Or “Why do I have to suffer all this pain? we will suffer needlessly. But there is a better way. Watchman Nee calls it having a mind to suffer. It is about our attitude to life. If we have an attitude to pain that is fearful, that constantly questions “Why”, we will suffer the unproductive pain. If we see it as an attack from the evil one, it makes the pain beyond our control and produces hopelessness.

However if we can change our heart attitude to a learning experience like, ” what can I learn from this pain?” or “how can I use this pain to solve my problems”, we will find the pain becomes less painful and will become productive. Everything depends on the attitude of our heart on this journey. If we can develop an attitude of “Pain is only pain”, it begins to give us a measure of control. It is how I choose to see the pain that will make the difference between chaos and growth. It is the difference of negative and positive heart attitudes. All pain comes from an event we usually have no control over. Therefore dwelling on why we are experiencing it is nonproductive. We need to regain an element of control. The one thing we do have is choice. We can decide what our attitude to suffering will be. It is really that simple. When you come to a place where suffering is inevitable, you come to a place of choice. It is up to you whether you make it destructive pain or healing pain. Whenever you look at the reason for your pain being outside of yourself, i.e. damage your parents did, events that are beyond your control that hurt you, blaming satan, you will suffer unnecessary, unproductive pain. We all need to take responsibility for the condition we are in right now. No we did not cause our pain but we are totally responsible for staying there. Choose you today life or death.

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