“I don’t want to feel pain”: It’s OK to not be OK

So if you’ve done a lot of escapism in your life, a lot of time-wasting, procrastination, avoiding facing the music, you’ve probably been told “Don’t do that.
Stop escaping.
Face reality.
Face your responsibilities.
Do what you have to do.” Basically good advice, but it’s very easy to say.
Much easier said than done Of course, you can look at anybody escaping, maybe using self-destructive behaviours, drugs, time-wasting, bad mental loops: we can easily just look at these things and say, well, “That’s a mistake.
You really should be facing reality, making changes to your life to make a better life.” And it’s true.
But I think one reason it’s so difficult for it to really get through and really sink in is because it hurts.
It hurts to stop escaping.
Because the escaping: it’s there to escape from pain, from feeling uncomfortable, anxious, from feeling that something’s off, that something’s wrong, that kind of uncomfortable feeling of just things feeling bad and wrong, things feeling difficult, no end in sight.
All those kind of feelings that are relieved, temporarily, through escapist behaviours.
So telling somebody to stop escaping is kind of like somebody who is running away from a bear, and you say “Stop running away from the bear, because that’s not a good idea.” But if you’re actually being chased by a bear, then it’s very difficult to not run away, since you are concerned about being eaten by a bear.
Now, maybe I need a better example, because I have been told that you should never actually try to run away from a bear, because they run faster than horses, so you have no chance of running away from a bear.
But the idea is, if someone says “Stop avoiding your problem”, if the problem feels like, let’s say, being chewed, having your arm chewed off by a bear- I don’t know where this metaphor is gonna go to exactly fit the metaphor of escapism, and please let me know if you have an idea for a metaphor that could work with this idea.
But the idea is that it’s easy to tell somebody to stop doing an unhealthy thing, but if they’re doing that unhealthy thing in order to avoid what to them is very difficult pain, then it’s also easy to understand why it would be so difficult to actually put that into practice.
I think in any discussion about overcoming escapism, any discussion about self-improvement, changing ways of life, changing perspective, it has to be very clear, we have to be very open with the idea, that this is painful, and it’s not something that anybody really wants to deal with.
If it wasn’t for the great rewards of going through the pain to improve our lives, there would be no reason to do it.
And when you’re in the middle of pain, it’s not easy to be convinced that “Oh, it’s for your own good.
Don’t worry.” When we look at why people are repeating their patterns of behaviour and not changing, despite all the logical force pushing them to say “Change”, even if they can understand in their minds, “I need to change”: still, it’s difficult to walk across that floor covered in glass, walk across those hot coals that, you know, if you have to do it- concoct your imaginary scenario where you have to walk over broken glass or hot coals in order to get to where you need to go.
It’s still difficult to make yourself face that pain.
So I think that this is something to always keep in mind.
And in order to get through this, in order to move through it, we have to go through a phase where we simply feel bad.
And I think we have to accept that it is OK.
It’s OK to feel bad.
It’s OK to feel pain.
It’s OK to not be OK.
This can be a difficult thing, because it seems like the standard way of interacting with people is “How are you?” “Great.” “How are you doing?” “OK.” “Fine.” When you say “How are you?”, people are not ready for the response of “I am in pain.” If they do get a response, if you say “How are you?” and somebody says “I’m in pain”, what would be the reaction? Immediately, the reaction is “This is an abnormal situation.
Something needs to be addressed right now.
How can this be improved immediately?” It’s not just “How are you?” “I’m in pain.” “Oh, well, that’s too bad.
You know, I’m doing OK.
Anyway, carrying on.” It’s like if something is not OK, if something is bad, it’s a natural reaction, conversationally at least, to have to address this and fix it.
So it can be difficult- so, you know, for people that are feeling pain, it then becomes so difficult to actually say that to other people, and, you know, to say that “I’m not OK.
I’m in pain.” Because then imagine every social interaction, where it’s like “Hey, how’s it going? How are you?” and you’re like “I’m not OK.
I’m in pain.” People don’t know how to react.
They become uncomfortable.
They maybe try to solve the situation immediately through some quick solution […]

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