When you have physical pain in some part of your body, it’s your body’s way of telling you there is a problem that needs to be addressed. If the pain is less physical and more emotional, it’s your soul’s way of telling you the same thing. Something is broken and it needs fixing. How many men proceed with their lives without addressing internal pain and anguish? How many willingly decide to continue on with the same way of doing things even when that way correlates with (and likely causes) the pain? How many don’t even realize they’re unhappy?
Living in such a distracting world leaves us little time to reflect on how we are actually feeling inside. To successfully do this, you need time, peace, quiet and concentration. By disconnecting for a short period of time each day, you can allow yourself the opportunity to become in tune with your innermost feelings and thoughts. Take a minute to reflect back on your day. The moment you woke up, what did you do first? If you’re like most people, you likely checked your phone to run through dozens of notifications via email, social media, news, sports and financial apps. After this, you began your day and started knocking off your daily tasks. Once your work for the day was completed, did you turn on the television? Scroll on your phone? Read a book? At a certain point you went back to bed and began it all over the following day.
Do you ever give yourself time to sit and think? Are you providing your brain with an opportunity to decompress and analyze the day you just completed? Unfortunately for many, this isn’t happening, and as such, whatever issues you may be facing get piled on, are left unaddressed, and stay buried. Those problems become compounded over time, and many never get an opportunity to dig in and understand why it is they feel the way they feel. This leaves us with a society of helplessly depressed and troubled people, all because they ignored the pain when it first reared it’s ugly head.
In physical terms, this would be the equivalent of the following: you accidentally bump your knee against a table, and it hurts for a couple weeks. Instead of going to the doctor, you press on with the pain and continue to walk on the ailing leg. One day you wake up and you can barely move the leg, and the knee is locked up on you and won’t bend. You have to call an ambulance to bring you to the hospital. They have to do a major surgery to correct your issue.
What was the issue, you ask? The day you bumped your knee you actually tore a ligament in it. By not treating that pain and allowing it to continue, you overwhelmed your healthy leg and lower back, as both compensated for the injured leg. This caused a bulged disc in your back, leaving your injured leg misaligned and unusable. The wear and tear on the injured knee ligament progressively worsened, and now the tear has increased in size and severity. Congratulations, you need full ACL surgery, which requires six to nine months to recover. All of these are consequences of ignoring pain and allowing it to continue without treatment. At the very least, addressing the pain early on could’ve given you less invasive treatment options, like wearing a knee brace and going to physical therapy. Instead, due to your own stubbornness or disconnection from the signals your body was sending, you now face an expensive surgery and a long road to recovery.
This works the same with emotional pain. If you’re not happy and can’t figure out why, disconnect and take some time to think about it. Analyze why you feel how you feel. Try to identify what started the pain, and why you’ve reacted to it in the manner you have. The fact is, something only hurts you if you allow it. By taking time to understand when the pain started, you can determine what upset you and why it made such a negative impact to you. These are very different things. Let’s say you started feeling upset when your girlfriend mentioned she had traveled to Hawaii before with her ex boyfriend. That comment was the stimulus, that conversation is when the pain began, but what is the root of the pain?
It’s imperative that you find time to sit by yourself and unpack the feelings you’re having. In this example, the comment may have made you feel upset because you currently don’t have the money to take such a lavish trip, and you feel inadequate. You don’t want her to look at you being less of a man than her ex boyfriend, but you feel inferior. If this is the case, you must make a plan to fix this feeling of inadequacy inside you. Do the math and figure out what amount of money you’d need to earn in order to be financially stable enough to book a vacation like that. Talk with your boss about a raise or promotion. Start looking for a new job that pays more. Launch your own side hustle for extra cash. Take on a second job.
The point is, you’ve uncovered the reason for the pain you’re having, and you’re taking steps to correct it. You’re a man with a plan, and you’re commanding extreme ownership over your world. If you never took the time to analyze the feelings you’re having, the pain would only worsen in time. It would be an open wound, getting deeper and more infected until it tore you apart. Do you want to walk around being sad and depressed without ever figuring out what the root cause is?
Once you identify the reason for the pain, make a plan to change it. If you can’t change it, then change your mindset. In the example of the Hawaiian vacation, a solution may be coming up with new, less expensive experiences to share with your girlfriend. Or, looking at the situation from a new perspective which doesn’t even allow you to compare yourself with her ex, because her ex is her ex for a reason (or several) and you’re the one she chooses to be with. You bring other attributes to the table; attributes that are more valuable than money. The information you decide to allow into your head shapes your thoughts, feelings, mindset and mood. Take control over it today; it’s the manly thing to do.
– Your Big Bro