Believe it or not, our life is essentially one big exercise in avoiding pain and gaining pleasure! Existing in our brain, at a very deep intrinsic level, is a ‘pain’ detector that triggers a fight or flight response. When early man walked the earth, it was common knowledge that a predator hunting for food was something to be avoided – we could end up being dinner!
The perceived pain with being some predators dinner was enough to make someone run real Fast in the opposite direction with the express aim of avoiding such an experience! The flight response to something associated with pain became instinctive ( unconscious thought – meaning there was no need to think about it ) in the human species as it evolved. Conversely, a stimulus causing a pleasure association ( e.g. the presence of good food, shelter or the opposite sex) would result in a strong attraction!
OK, but what about today. Now we still have those same response mechanisms deeply embedded in our in our brains – only now we don’t need them as much.
Barring tragic events, the greatest ‘pain’ we face everyday in the Western world is the pain of rejection or embarrassment from not doing something right, not living up to someone’s expectations, being out of touch with others etc. Often, this pain is not real but ‘perceived’.
So now, instead of the brain linking physical pain with a savage beast’s bite it links emotional pain with being rejected or embarrassed. Awareness is key here as this ‘perception’ can block or motivate us into taking the required action!
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
– William Shakespeare