To Get Over Feelings Of Hurt, Allow Yourself To Feel The Hurt

In his book Civilization And Its Discontents, the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud asserts that the human ego, which we mistake as our identity because it has become so rooted in our subconscious, always aims to discard anything that may be a source of displeasure and treats it as coming from  "outside" the ego and thus makes it uncomfortable.

Freud further goes on to state that humans try to deal with these alien feelings of pain and hurt in three ways which are using powerful deflections which cause us to make light of our misery, substitutions which diminish the misery and intoxicating substances which makes us insensitive to the misery.

From Freud's asseverations, it is clear that humans are not the most imperturbable species out there. Evolution coupled with civilization has made us hostile to feelings of displeasure and as a consequence, we would do anything to not harbor those feelings. Humans always want to be happy and this happiness can come in two ways which are the absence of pain and unpleasure as well as experiencing intense feelings of pleasure, conditions which are favorable for the release of dopamine which is the human happiness hormone.

But as the German writer, Goethe once said, "there is nothing harder to bear than a succession of fair days". Human beings, in every day of their lives, are threatened with suffering from all directions, be it from our body which will ail from time to time and eventually decay,  from our relations and interactions with other humans and from the external world which may rage against us with merciless forces of destruction.

The fact of the matter is that hurt, pain, and suffering have been, are and will always be a part of human life but we still treat them as foreign and unnecessary feelings which must be avoided at all costs. We think suffering, especially that invoked by our fellow men is unwarranted for but the truth is that it is inevitable.

Instead of living life by the pleasure principle which is seeking gratification by any means necessary, why can't we instead live by the reality principle which teaches us that the external world which has pain, hurt, suffering and other sources of displeasure does exist and we must accommodate it?

Running away from dissatisfaction will never work because like a shadow, it follows us everywhere we go and from every direction, as aforementioned. Civilization itself, which is the epitome of human achievements, is a source of suffering so the best thing we can do really is to be imperturbable by treating hurt and happiness as one and the same thing because they are both permanent and somewhat necessary human feelings.

As an avid follower of Zen philosophy, I believe a lot in this concept of imperturbability by treating hurt and pleasure as one and believe it can go a long way in dealing with feelings of hurt and displeasure which occur so often in our lives and I have written quite extensively on this blog about this construct like on this post and this one.

It is important for us to understand and appreciate that the ego— which tells us to run away from feelings of discomfort—is not even real but a result of an error during the evolution of our species. We should further understand and appreciate that life is not a bed of roses and it was never meant to be and that feelings of displeasure are just as vital for our being and growth as those of pleasure.