Let’s work to the design
We are such strange creatures. We design complex machines with inbuilt warning systems to stop problems turning into calamities. When we see the oil light flashing on our car dashboard we’ll take action because bussing to work doesn’t thrill us. Yet when our body sends its alert of pain we may ignore it, even though the possible damage is greater than an inconvenient bus ride home.
Maybe at a push we see physical pain as a warning, especially when that lump becomes more painful. But emotional pain? Whoa… who wants to go there?
But ignoring pain doesn’t stop the claxton, it just makes life more chaotic.
Emotional pain is an alert designed to keep us happy. It rings when our actions lack alignment with our goals:
- The hot flush of embarrassment whilst presenting our report tells us that if we want that promotion, we should practise our delivery;
- The cold grip of guilt accompanying words of deceit warns of rejection to come;
- The stomach cramps that accompany our perfectionist traits foretell a future of suffering until we learn that our best, is the best we can do.
Emotional pain tells us “You are off track to happiness. Action is required”
Just like the car stops when its message is missed, we stop when we ignore our body’s message: We procrastinate, resist, repress, withdraw. Our joy is depressed.
But when we heed pain’s message and act, life becomes more joyous.
(Yes, the alerts of pain are nuanced. Yes, the system is extremely complex…. and… Yes, we ARE capable of learning Emotions’ messages, though we may need a coach or other expert to help us cut through the noise.)
Pain is our indicator light for happiness … let’s use it as designed.
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