The importance of pain

Pain is part of life, companion of many important life events, a clear sign that something demands our attention, a conspicuous signal that something is wrong or not quite right, and an invitation that we should ask for help. Pain might be physical or mental/psychological. Psychological pain is sometimes defined as “the affective state associated with discrepancy between ideal and actual perception of self.” Psychological pain is tied to any form of inner suffering or intense unpleasant feelings (e.g. guilt, fear, loneliness, panic, helplessness, despair). Suffering can be caused by frustrated psychological needs, such as need for love, belonging, autonomy, success, etc. Fulfilling these needs is a drive to action—it can be big part of human motivation per se. However, personal meanings and the unique story of each person differ from one human being to another, even when the same or similar needs are not satisfied. So, suffering and pain of each person are specific: in order to understand something about them and to approach the inner core of their problems, we must first understand their life story. Psychological pain is at the heart of many psychological problems. In depression, the pain is often described as “physical,” which can further lead to an over exaggerated reaction to negative images and stimuli. Consequences might include feelings of unhappiness, guilt, ruminations, etc. Very intense pain could lead to suicidal thoughts and suicidal behaviors. The risk of suicide rises as general psychological and emotional pain becomes stronger. Suicide happens when the pain becomes excruciating—when it becomes intolerable—so the very act signifies escape from unbearable suffering.

Tolerating uncertainty

Feelings of uncertainty are usually connected to anxiety which is experienced when one is thinking about the future. Reduced ability to anticipate future events can trigger strong feelings of anxiety and many other unpleasant emotions. In fact, this ability to reflect about the future is something which makes us truly human. Uncertainty comes and goes, … Continue reading Tolerating uncertainty