Anyone who tells you that you can go through life without getting hurt and feeling pain is either lying or hiding.
Life is rough-and-tumble. Pain is unavoidable.
But there is a type of pain that we can leave behind. That is more a result of our own thinking than anything external, any injury either physical or emotional.
Call it “Dirty Pain.” Which is distinguished from “Clean Pain.” Clean pain, that is the initial hurt. When you hit your foot, it hurts. That is the bodily response to the injury. When someone says something to you that is mean and spiteful, your feelings are hurt. That is the emotional pain. It is initial.
But what if you chastise yourself about your being “clutsy,” or about your “stupid action” that led to that foot injury? Or what if you made that hurtful comment about you, and not about the person who said it? What if you kept dwelling about it?
Let me be clear: it is fine to ask how you might prevent an injury in the future. It is fine to listen to feedback from others, that might give you some insight into things you need to change.
It’s the next step after that. When you keep berating yourself. It’s when you take the next step… you attach to the pain. Buddhism refers to that as suffering. You and I can think of it as “Dirty Pain” (a term coined by ACT – a mode of therapy). It is dirtied by our own mental state — not the cause of the pain.
What do you do about that? We discuss it in this week’s Thriveology Podcast. Listen below.