When People Hurt

 

Most people do not cope well with badly hurt feelings. Sometimes they cope so badly that they commit suicide. This awful problem is growing and becoming increasingly visible.

I wonder whether addressing hurt feelings as a mental health issue is a mistake. I am not sure that hurting so badly that you cannot stand it is the same as being unstable. I am not sure that a person who is more unhappy than afraid of dying is abnormal in any way.

Perhaps the act of suicide is indeed sinful as stated by some religions. Even though we all die, many people of faith believe only God should mandate the timing and manner of our passing. Suicide is probably selfish to the extent it imposes senses of loss, guilt, and misery on those left behind. But perhaps it is just a forgivable act brought on by intolerable, exhausting unhappiness.

Maybe society or just individuals can find better ways to acknowledge and heal hurt and to prevent the use of harmful and addictive substances as a first line of defense against sadness.  Maybe we can find better ways to bring out and dispel unhappy feelings. Maybe we can find unobtrusive ways to prevent those seeking isolation from wallowing in their distress.

Perhaps we could focus on education. Maybe, like other intelligence, emotional intelligence can be cultivated. Criticizing and disparaging pain does not work. Maybe we can find ways to foster happiness and to teach that it comes from within. Maybe we can do more to immunize people from hurt created by others and to foster self-worth.

Here are three things I was told we need to be happy:

  • Something to do
  • Someone to love
  • Something to look forward to

Taking and teaching these steps could be a start.

 

See more from Irina Gajjar at www.irinaspage.com.

Unequipped

Most if not all people are unequipped to deal with the feelings life bestows upon us. While we have the ability to figure out ways to cope with our environment, we are less successful in coping with emotions. The term “emotional intelligence” suggests this is something we can measure and work on but I think that we as a species we are deficient in this area.

In terms of coping with matters like fear, anger, jealousy, humiliation, greed or disappointment, we are like skinless animals left out in the cold. And while we have the intelligence to create heat shelter and body coverings to keep warm, we do not have emotional intelligence to ward off unhappy feelings. The best we can do is deal and carry on. We try to figure out if our responses and reactions are sensible or kind or whatever, but don’t feel much better until something resolves. We use mechanisms like faith, reason, distraction or withdrawal but these tactics help only to an extent.

Some time ago I took an emotional intelligence online quiz, answered about 150 questions and scored 61%. In exchange for revealing personal information and possibly a fee, the quiz offered me training to improve, but I chose not to.

I wonder how many of you would do significantly better or worse or if the quiz was rigged to give everyone a mediocre score.