what exactly happens when we get hurt and why does it hurt so much?
First of all, what concepts do we know to explain it?
Which theories are available to explain what happens when we hurt?
Oh, I’m speaking of emotional pain by the way, physical pain is probably much easier to explain – at least for those who understand the physical aspect and how the body functions.
How CAN we even get emotionally hurt?
Well, there must be a clash between what we expected or wished for and what truly happened.
An incident which we perceived and classified as “wrong” or “bad”.
And thus, there must be some sort of codex in us, some sort of detection system, something which tells us what is a painful experience and what isn’t.
Because as we already said, it is not physical pain we are experiencing.
It can’t be a physical reality then, which is hurting us. And there is no physical pain from words or actions which do not directly injure our bodies, but there is still pain.
And also, it varies from person to person.
What you will find painful, may be a piece of cake for someone else, they may even say you are too sensitive… and it also depends on the background of a person:
someone who grew up in a toxic environment, may be more prone to notice abusive behavior or the contrary, they may have hardened their hearts against it and may have become more resistant towards it, whereas someone who has never been insulted or verbally abused may be overwhelmed by it and also by not knowing what to do – and that itself can also cause pain.
Regardless of our personality and of the definition in the specific situation or on the level of tolerance or coping skills someone has, these are the things which hurt us.
ALL of us.
There may be differences in individuals as to the levels which they can tolerate and as to how they (have learned or are able to) cope or what will even be perceived as one of the above, but all of the above, when perceived as given, will cause some sort and some amount of pain in us.
Why is that?
How do we come to the values in us, which tell us that these things are “wrong” or painful and that they shouldn’t happen and when they happen to us anyway, that we should or want to or must (outside of our control) feel pain?
There are many approaches to explain this and I would like to take a look at a few of them I came across.
Take the most obvious one, psychology:
this science and all the therapeutic methods / means and approaches which stem from it will use one of the many theories and doctrines they have invented to explain how this situation triggered an old childhood memory and the pain is getting relived and that is what is happening in our brain and they say that the reason why we all have the same kind of triggers for pain is because we all have the same traumatic childhood experiences, for instance, when our mother leaves us, this will imprint our first traumatic experience of loss in our psyche, and they say further that no mother can be with their child 24/7 and that’s why everybody experiences loss / being left by a person they love as painful.
And yet, there are mothers who are with their children 24/7 until they are way past the age where psychology says that the “traumatic imprint” happens.
And still these persons will experience the loss of a loved one as painful.
Plus, how can there be common standards or perceptions that these things are negative experiences throughout all countries, cultures, civilizations all over the world?
Everything else is different regarding to our background, regarding to where we come from and where we grow up.
Why do we all have the very same pains (and joys as well, but we’ll come to those later)?
It can’t be the childhood or the environment where we were brought up.
Regardless of how protected and happy or terrible our childhood was, when someone we love dies, we are sad.
Or when someone wrongs us, we are angry or sad or both.
All the different environments / backgrounds / origins do is that they may influence or change our definition of what a loss or a humiliation is and how we can take it.
But it will be painful for all of us, for every human being on the planet.
So which other science is there we could have a look at, a science which will be applicable for all humans?
Doesn’t really help here, we may be able to calculate the percentage of all of the above in the lives of the average population in every single country or the probability of how many people will experience a specific pain in a specific time in their lives, but that won’t answer our question.
There must be something in all of us, which is “set” to the same standards.
Is it our brain or in our brain?
Hm… if it was, people with a malfunctioning brain or brain damage would not be able to feel emotional pain.
And it is true to a degree.
But some of them are able to and do feel emotional pain and unless the ability to perceive reality and what is happening will be damaged, they, too, will be sad when someone they love dies or when it comes to some of the other “pain factors” above, they may even respond much stronger than someone who is not suffering from their condition.
If they are not able to tell what’s going on, then they may not feel pain or not so much or not so easy, and yet, most people who work with mental illness or mentally disabled people will tell you that most of them do have a sense of unwellness and do suffer from their condition most of the time, many of them without even knowing why they are feeling pain, but they do.
So that must mean that the sense of “right or wrong”, the sense which sets off the reaction, the conclusion, the message which announces the result of the equation as negative, as “painful” – no doubt is the analysis happening mostly in the brain, but not there alone – THAT must come from somewhere else, from somewhere higher than our body.
Do you agree?
Are we on the same page?
Or can you think of a scientific approach which I have not mentioned?
Well, it must be “something” higher than individual standards, must be something which is not depending on a person’s history, something which is not happening in the brain of a person, something which is not individual and physical alone.
Does it happen in the soul?
In the spirit?
In the mind?
Probably somewhere in one or all of those.
Is “pain” defined by religion or by religious beliefs then?
It can’t be, because atheists do feel pain, too – no doubt about it!
And everybody does, no matter which religion they belong to, they will not agree on anything else in the universe, but they will ALL agree that the above experiences are painful – even the buddhists will agree, that’s what their entire religion is about, to transcend the pain and not (having to) feel it anymore.
Can’t be religion then, it must be something higher.
Creation is the only “thing” / concept left.
We must all have been created the same way.
I will not elaborate very long on the evolution theory, it is too ridiculous in my belief system, I must admit I have not studied it very much, but if you believe in evolution, I have one question for you:
at which point did the “humanness” come into the picture?
When were the humans too human and not “apely” enough anymore to cry, to feel shame, to realize what injustice is?
I will leave it at that.
And come to what can only be THE TRUTH:
We are all made in GOD’s image.
And HE gave us the morals, the sense of right and wrong.
The radar for when to feel joy and when to feel pain and that’s why we all react the same way about things, no matter where we were born, no matter how old we are and no matter what we have done, seen and experienced in our lives.
It is the only explanation which makes sense.
And ahhhh, what a coincidence, the above pain factors “coincide” with the commandments?
Who would have guessed?
Does it hurt us, because GOD wants us to hurt when these things happen?
The answer is “yes”.
Because HE doesn’t want anyone to do these things.
That’s why they hurt everybody.
It is a godly system of right and wrong.
Most legal systems follow GOD’s commandments in most of the aspects, and yet, there are many societies where they are being breached and still, the people who live there are hurting when the above things happen.
It is GOD’s law for MANKIND.
HE established that these things are wrong and that’s why everybody will perceive them as wrong and will hurt when they happen to them.
What about the other side of the spectrum?
Well, the same goes for positive experiences as well:
We ALL like to be loved, approved, like to see things we wished for (it is also called praying 🙂 ) come to pass, like to find a spouse, like to be healthy and like to prosper.
Regardless of who we are, where we live and how old we are.
And look at that, the things which bring us joy are the promises of GOD to HIS people in the bible.
Of course not.
We experience all these in this way, because OUR CREATOR made us this way.
And that’s all.
If you haven’t done so today, thank HIM for creating you, for giving you GOOD gifts and for giving you a knowing, a deep knowing of what is right and what is wrong, for making you hurt when someone wrongs you, so that you would learn how to treat others, how to love them and how to help them when they hurt.
Just as HE first loved us.
In one of the next articles, I will inquire and reflect on how our pain influences our relationship with GOD and our walk in CHRIST.
Dear friends, I hope and pray that this would inspire and bless you. And that THE LORD will bless you richly in all areas of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and give you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.