TRYING TO AVOID PAIN
Richard Beck writes, “A quote I think about a lot in my own life is this one from Carl Jung:
“Neurosis is the avoidance of legitimate suffering.”
Life is painful and when I notice something neurotic about my behavior it’s often because I’m avoiding something painful.
One of the secrets of mental health is learning how to suffer well. Because what we’d like to do is avoid all suffering and pain. We’d like to avoid the shame of the confession, the entry into rehab or therapy, and the request for help. Avoid the grief of loss. Avoid the effects of consequences that are rightly coming our way. Avoid the sting of disappointment in the face of failure. Avoid the hurt in a faltering relationship.
So to avoid the pain we develop neurotic coping mechanisms. We self-medicate. We blame. We distract ourselves. We avoid. We pretend.
We avoid legitimate suffering by burying it under neurotic symptoms. Rather than suffering directly we suffer indirectly through symptoms of neurotic avoidance.”
I, like most of you, would rather avoid pain, but I know that my stress, anxiety and depression, my symptoms of neurotic behavior, are simply attempts to avoid what cannot be avoided: suffering and the pain of suffering.
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations.” Jesus