In a previous post, I shared some of my thoughts on the adage “just let it go.” In this post, I explore another aspect of the mind-over-problem approach to self-healing: “instant” pain relief.
I notice I feel really irritated when I’d hear prayers and requests that say, “I just want this pain gone – please just take it out of (or away from) me.”
I’ve always resisted therapies like EFT, CBT, EMDR, and other modalities which use some form of desensitization. It seems you don’t necessarily discover the true source of your pain or find a resolution to the issue – you just don’t feel the impact of it anymore. (When I was younger, we used to call that getting drunk. It also goes by the monikers “vegging out” and “web surfing.”)
Now, with impishness aside and with all due respect to the power and success that people have using these modalities, my visceral reaction to them comes from a place of, “If you just take my problem away, or if you dampen down my sensitivity so I no longer feel the feelings associated with the problem, I haven’t learned the lesson that the problem has emerged to teach me.”
I liken it to the “gift” of dealing with a difficult person. If I didn’t have that person in my life, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to see this wounded area in me that’s calling for healing. If difficult people were simply removed from my path, I wouldn’t have to learn anything about myself – I could just simply wish them away. Yes, the symptoms of my pain are gone. But is my wound really healed? Did I really learn anything? What happens the next time I’m gifted with another difficult person? If I just mask the symptoms by tapping away my discomfort, the wound is still there, I just don’t feel it. For me personally, I’d rather attend to the wound.
I believe it was Iyanla Van Zant who said, “Developing a thick skin means I don’t feel. Instead, I’d rather feel it so I can heal it.”
That sentiment summarizes my choice for healing. I know I can have freedom from the pain by desensitization, or by going through it and completing it. Yes, desensitization brings immediate gratification by dialing down the pain of the wound. I think of it as applying anesthesia to an open cut: while the pain is temporarily numbed, the actual wound remains.
On the other hand, I believe if I move closer to the wound, attend to it, clean it, and bandage it, it will heal and I can learn more about myself throughout the healing process. It may take some time and intention, and scar may even remain. But the process, the scar, and my lessons all become an integrated part of my history and my humanness. I am not defined by the wound, but it is a valid and valuable part of me, worth more to me than just tapping it away.
I’m open to hearing your thoughts.
Adele Cox, MA, CMT
Youniversoul Health & Wellness
2305 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705