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?