Day 2 of 30 – Something I Love About Myself

Friday, October 8th, 2010

My tolerance for pain is notoriously low.

When my second child was born, I got my epidural before they broke my water. (That, by the way, was magical and the way all babies should be born.)  I hate needles, cry when I stub my toe, and have been known to invent new swear words when I bump my head.  One of my greatest fears in life is being in a fist fight and I have developed a quick wit mainly to talk myself out of such situations.

I loathe physical pain and go to great lengths to avoid it if possible.  If it can’t be avoided, I bitch about it.  A lot.

But you will not find a person more willing to confront emotional pain head on.

I don’t like emotional pain.  Like anyone, I have built up brilliant defenses to protect myself from self loathing and shame and guilt and doubt and all those other hard to bear emotions that we guard ourselves from.

But I am not afraid of it.  Or maybe I am afraid, but I struggle through it anyway.

There have been many times in my life when I have known that I would have to push through what felt like unbearable emotional turmoil in order to reach a better version of myself.  More often than not, I have braced myself, put my head down, and soldiered on through the mess.  I’ve cried, I’ve confronted, I’ve shuddered at the sight of myself, but I have not run in the face of emotional pain.

In this way, I am brave.  In this way, too, I think I am wise because something inside me always knows that the emotional pain is but a temporary checkpoint on the way to something better.  Stronger.  More free.

I love this about myself. I love my willingness to ask myself hard questions and sit with the discomfort of ugly answers when no one else is around.

More than love, I am proud of this emotional bravery, because I know that it is not common.  I know, too, that it is a choice that I make and that the easy more natural choice is to run.  But I don’t run.  I take a deep breath, clench my fists, and march into the battlefield of self reflection.

Do you face emotional pain, or run like hell at the first sign of discomfort?

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  1. I face the pain, handle the fallout,solve the crisis. Then when it’s all over and I can take a deep breath, I fall apart.

  2. mare says:

    face.

    head on.

    bull in china shop, when it comes to me being able to grow emotionally – damage will be done but insurance will cover it.

  3. Finn says:

    I look it in the eye and kick it in the balls.

  4. Wow. This is an awesome post. I actually think I might be somewhat the opposite–I embrace physical pain to a degree (well in childbirth anyway…though when I stub my toe I am the biggest wuss imaginable) but have gone to great lengths to avoid disappointing others. I’m also uncomfortable around people who cry easily. I’m working on it.

    But I definitely don’t let fear of rejection get in my way, and I am never afraid to say I’m sorry. So maybe I’m kind of awesome, too.

  5. Sybil Law says:

    I’m a head on type of girl – sometimes that means emotional collisions, but they’re necessary, sometimes, too.
    Also, I will whine about paper cuts and colds endlessly, but I didn’t cry or even make a sound in labor or delivery.
    I’m like a Scientologists dream.

  6. Faiqa says:

    I think I’m a head on kind of gal, too. It just takes me a while to notice it, if that makes sense. I tend to subconsciously distract myself until I’m, all, hey… what’s THIS about…
    Also, this post is also one of the things I love about you. Well said.

  7. Avitable says:

    I think that’s where your complete honesty stems from – the fact that you’re not afraid to take anything on even if it’s going to be emotionally painful. It’s one of your more impressive traits that I wish everyone had, including me.

  8. Poppy says:

    I like to confront pain. If you don’t confront it then it just manifests itself in other, much worse ways. :(

    I had no idea you could get an epidural before your water breaks! That sounds wonderful…

  9. Lisa says:

    I’m a face it head on and kick it in the nuts girl, like Finn said. I may have a meltdown later, but I usually face things when I need to.

  10. i love this about you. really, truly love this about you.

  11. Robin says:

    I’ve always been one to face emotional pain, I like this about myself too. I know a lot of people who live in denial and avoid the hard stuff. I will admit there is something in my life now that I keep pushing away but that’s because I cannot find an answer to this, all it does is make me lose sleep and age much quicker.

  12. Natalie G. says:

    Yeeehaaaa….I was cheering you on all through that post! I’ve witnessed the beauty of your processing through your blog and you definitely hit the nail on the head.

    We’re kindred souls in terms of facing emotional pain. I always think that pain is just a signal to pay attention…something needs addressing. The faster and more thoroughly that process happens, the faster the pain goes away.

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