Friday, April 6, 2007

The Conundrum of Pain

What is pain? And why do we feel it?

The answer to why we have physical pain is logical; it indicates when our bodies have experienced some sort of trauma that needs to be addressed. It's an alarm system for the physical being.

But emotional pain? That one is an elusive mofo. After careful thought and consideration (read: 3 minutes of quick brainstorming) I've come up with a crap-shoot explanation. I will call it the Opposites Model.

*DISCLAIMER: I'm fairly certain someone has already thought of this and has articulated it in much better terms. But for the sake of this being my blog, I'm going to spew*

Emotions operate in a relational space. The way we gauge our emotions is by qualifying them in relation to other emotions. Examples: "I've never felt pain like this before", "I'm happier now than I was a week ago", blah blah blah. While these examples are simplistic (forgive me, it's 1:30 in the morning), they demonstrate precisely the comparative aspect of our emotions. On a basic level, we do decipher between all of the emotions: happy, sad, angry, hurt, embarrassed, etc. But in order to really get to the crux of the emotions we are feeling, we describe them, we relate them.

All of that leads to my explanation of emotional pain (again, haphazard theory coming). I believe that we feel pain because it makes us appreciate joy more than we would ever appreciate it if it was the only thing we felt. How can anyone know extreme joy without knowing what extreme pain is? Of course you can experience joy independent of knowing pain. But I don't believe that anyone can really grasp what it is to be truly happy and joyful until they know what it's like to be extremely unhappy and in pain. We need the opposing emotion in order to comprehend and accept the positive emotion; to make our awareness and definition of our emotions more acute. There you have it: the opposites model. Pain and sadness are pesky cogs in the system that make our emotional beings whole.

In our society, we shy away from pain and discomfort. We always want to be happy and positive; I think that is one of the biggest mistakes for a society to make. We need the good and the bad in order to be complete. Because, no matter how hard we try, the bad will always be there; if we choose to ignore it, we will be worse off because of it.

This is a lot of rambling. I guess the point of my word-vomit is this: regardless of why we have pain, we need to hold onto it. Let it happen and honestly let it soak in. We all know that the pain doesn't last forever, just as joy doesn't go on indefinitely. By embracing our emotions, we are being true to ourselves. And doing so will make us the best people we can possibly be. We grow in response to what we have felt.

Okay, silly time! I bet you can't guess where the SECOND abscess I have had this month is plaguing me! I'll give you a hint: it's one of the LAST places you want a fucking painful sub-dermal infection.

Happy guessing, everyone!

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