For as much as we know, ‘Pain’ is for the living and it is only at the realm of death that pain ceases to exist. But, is there something practical we can do to reduce the pain and increase happiness in our daily lives?
Oftentimes during the course of our day, the anger, irritation or frustration we feel is triggered by what someone has done to ‘me’ or when someone is indifferent to ‘my thing’ or ‘my story’. We become defensive and this is often why, life seems to have our emotions on a string.
Think about this, which is more painful between saying; ‘he ate the food’ and ‘he ate my food’? Or ‘Look what you have done to the car’ and ‘look what you have done to my car’? Or ‘she hung up the phone’ and ‘he hung up the phone on me?’ If you are willing to agree, the ‘me’ statement carries more pain.
You probably know the dangers of being Defensive. It makes one not teachable and also kills the spirit of communication and teamwork. If someone criticizes ‘me’ or doesn’t agree with ‘my’ opinion, chances are good that ‘I’ will take it personal and get defensive. A lot of honest believers struggle with this aspect of their spiritual life. I know because I used to and still suffer from it but to a lesser extent.
Nevertheless, as we become aware of the pain-body of ‘me and my’, pain associated with criticism, disappointment and denial begins to diminish. Being defensive of ‘me’ magnifies small pain to its larger equivalent. It makes one unconscious of the truth that sometimes we are wrong and other times we are right. A reduced sense of ‘me’, however, will help ‘me’ to learn needful lessons when I am wrong and valuable knowledge on human nature when I am right but misunderstood.
Loss of humility can be a result of addiction to ‘me and my pain-body’. Some of the most defensive people I know double as people with the most pride I ever met! Everyone has a pain-body also known as the Adamic Ego, and to what extent we are moved by the ego determines a lot. Attitude really does determine altitude.
Forgiveness. The pain-body can impair one’s ability to truly forgive because it likes to hold on to pain and grudges of yesterday. But, carrying a grudge is like slapping yourself and expecting someone else to feel the pain. It turns you to a reservoir of bitterness. To forgive means to set a prisoner free and to realize that prisoner was yourself.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Knowledge of our own ignorance is the door to the temple of wisdom.” By being less defensive to the irrationality of others and meeting life’s sometimes harsh, unfair surge with less resistance, we discover what ignorance feels like and therefore, permit life to carry us to the temple of knowledge.
The pain of the ‘me and my’ cross we are called to bear demands to be felt without loss of faith in our ability and capacity to fulfill God’s ordained purpose. Furthermore, by using less ‘me’ and ‘my’ in conversations/confrontations, you wrestle a degree of power from the usual impulsive emotional reactions that follows someone infringing on ‘me’ or on ‘my’ property. It helps to key into one of the beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matt 5:3).
When we possess nothing, God gets the opportunity to fill us with everything healthy for our spiritual life. ‘My house’, ‘my car’, ‘my phone’, ‘my story’, ‘my money’ etc is like feeding yourself with junk and expecting to be spiritually healthy off it. In contrast, the blessedness that comes with possessing less of ‘me and my’ or the pain-body or the ego, is happiness (whatever it means to you), grace, peace, positivity and the joy of being.