Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sometimes we think that physical pain is a good distraction from, or substitute for, emotional pain. If we hurt enough inside about something, maybe if we do something (a tattoo? a new piercing? 4-inch stilettos?) to ourselves, force ourselves, then the internal hurt will subside, or at least be masked, by the external, physical pain.

I'm here to tell you it doesn't work. Now, I know we're each on our own journeys, and I can't prevent you from making mistakes that you'll learn from. But the next time you think that those expensive shoes which pinch will make you less miserable, or that tattoo on a tender piece of skin will distract you from your grief, please take some deep breaths. Think about what you're doing. Let your future maturity speak to where you are now.

You don't have to. Feeling the feelings, though dreadful, is ultimately a quicker and fuller way back to balance and serenity than distraction.

I've distracted myself with bad relationships, food, reading junk (and other things). When I come up for air, the feelings that I was avoiding are still there. They wait.