How Pain Influences The Formation Of Our Identity


When we're born, we are born with joy. We're born with the ability to run and laugh and giggle and play, and this isn't something that we have to earn. It just comes pre-installed.

As we begin to grow and develop, we observe what goes on around us.

We observe when mommy is happy. We observe when mommy is angry. When Daddy is happy, when Daddy is angry, and we begin to construct a set of operating instructions about what we should do and not do in order to get our needs met, in order to secure our safety and security, in order to make people happy, in order to keep people from being mad at us.

And we also observe how people interact with each other, how mommy and daddy interact with each other, how siblings interact, how friends interact. And this all takes place from the age of zero to seven. And when we're in those developmental years, anytime that we fall down and we scrape our knee, We experience physical pain and we experience that pain until the sensation goes away.

Until the nerve endings stop sending signals to our brain that there is pain. And then once that pain goes away, we just go right back to laughing and giggling and jumping and playing, and we don't think anything about it. We don't like the pain. It hurts while we're experiencing, but we don't really assign any meaning to it. We just know that it's happening. We don't like it. And then when it goes away, we're back to normal, back to joy.

When we come on the age of seven, which is generally acknowledged as the the age of reason, this is when we begin to "wake up". This is when we develop a level of consciousness where realize that we are in the world, that there are other people in the world. 

Now we're aware of our pain. Now when we fall down and we scrape our knee, we don't just experience the physical pain. Now we have thoughts about the pain. Now we start to think things like, oh, that hurt. I don't like that. I don't want that to happen again.

And we start to look around. We start to observe the events that took place in order to cause that pain. And now we start to tell ourself a story like, "I don't wanna do that anymore. I'm not the kind of person who does that." We start to develop a sense of self that's associated with our pain. And so as we grow and develop into teenagers and young adults, we add to those operating instructions.

We add to that story about who we are and what we need to do in order to avoid pain and, achieve pleasure. We really start to define what we'll do, what we won't do, and who we are based based on our pain.

So it's important to recognize this for ourselves because what happens is, we begin to create a set of instructions that run in the background, that define our thinking.

It's a filter in which all of our interactions, all of our experiences go through and we wind up having this "elevator music of the mind" that runs in the background. And when that runs in the background, we, we reach a point where we're not even aware that it's there anymore because it's been happening for so long.

And that's one of the ways that we wind up having experiences that are automatic and unconscious. They are happening because of those operating instructions and that elevator music running in the background. Imagine this, your spouse or a friend says something. You have a thought about what they said. You run it through the filter, your operating instructions. You then have a feeling about that those thoughts and then those feelings produce in you some sort of physical reaction. Your heart rate increases, your stomach gets queasy, your shoulders get tight, and you start to feel that discomfort, that sense of, of unsafe, that you're not okay.

And then you start to automatically, unconsciously react to those sensations in order to make the feelings go away because in your mind, you've perceived that you're not okay, that you're not safe, and you need to do something in order to get yourself back to a place where you feel okay, that you feel safe again.

And so that really puts us into this unconscious, automatic sleep walking, reactive state where we're really just reacting to the thoughts that we're having and the feelings that are produced from those thoughts.

So what we wanna do is be able to become aware of our thoughts, start to become aware of our feelings, and start to challenge some of the things that we're telling ourselves, some of the rules that we've established for ourselves, some of the narratives that we have. We want to be able to recognize when our heart rate increases, when our stomach gets queasy, when our shoulders get tight, when our mind gets noisy, and we want to be able to take a step back and challenge our feelings and thoughts, and ask the question, "What's happening?"

Just a moment ago, I was fine. Now I'm all worked up. Now I don't feel safe. I don't feel secure, I don't feel okay, what's going on? And then we can start to ask ourselves questions. We can begin to observe. We can say, okay, a moment ago I was fine. She said, he said, they did something, or maybe they didn't do something, and then I had a thought about it. And then I had a feeling based on my thought. Then I started feeling in my body some sort of discomfort, some sort of physical reaction. And then I started to jump into action. I started to react to everything.

So we wanna become more aware of what's happening in our body so that we can become more aware of what's happening in our mind, so that we can begin to challenge our thoughts, so that we can begin to decide for ourselves consciously, not unconsciously, but consciously, whether or not this is something that we want to believe, this is something that we want to think. We can make conscious choices, conscious decisions, about who we want to be and how we want to act and how we want to move forward in our life.

So that's a little bit about how our thoughts, our beliefs, our operating instructions have been developed, how they influence our sense of self and how we use those self created rules to operate in the world, and how our automatic, unconscious reactions are keeping us sleep walking through our life, and how we need to observe and challenge and decide consciously how we want to be, who we want to be, what we want to think, what we want to believe, and how we want to move forward in the world.

If you are interested in learning more about observing your thoughts and replacing automatic, unconscious reactions, with conscious, intentional choices, consider taking the The Renewed Masculine Man course.

If you have questions about what's discussed in this article, contact me and we can talk about it more. 

Love ya brother,

Charlie McKeever
Happy Man Coach & Freedom Fighter

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