7.12.2013

Tearing Your Emotional ACL

We are idiots when it comes to our emotions.

Yes, all of us. People, as a general rule, are dumb about our hearts and brains. We get hurt, and for some reason, we think the best solution to the problems of our days is to immediately plunge right back into a similar situation that got us into trouble in the first place.

Nowhere more is this apparent than in affairs of the heart. We get our hearts broken, and we immediately go out and try to patch the wound with the attentions of someone else, as if that is the actual problem -- the absence of a person, any person, from our life.

I've done it. You've done it. We've all done it. Because we're dumb when it comes to our emotions.

We're slightly less dumb when it comes to our bodies (for some of us, only SLIGHTLY less dumb, but still). When we suffer an injury, we usually have no choice but to give it the time it takes to heal. What if we treated our emotions and our psychological state like it was a physical injury?

Imagine it like being a pro athlete. Your knee was just slammed into by a 260lb linebacker, and you've torn your ACL. You can't walk. You're injured.

Of course, you're going to have to go to the doctor and get the bad news. Then comes the brace and the crutches and the surgery. This takes weeks. And the entire time, you're in severe pain. How do you alleviate that pain? Pain killers, sure. Anti-inflamitories. Video games and movies and ice cream. Lots of things that take the pain away.

But you most certainly don't deal with it by hopping on the field and playing four quarters. That's fucking stupid. And that's what you're doing with your emotions when you insist on treating your pain with the exact same thing that caused it in the first place, instead of letting them heal.

Now, the really hard part to swallow -- just because you had the surgery on your knee doesn't make you ready to hop right back into being the starting running back in the NFL. Far from it. You've got to heal from the surgery, then you've got rehab. Months of it. Just to get back to walking normally.

Then, in order to actually compete, you've got to hit the gym and rebuild the strength you had in that leg. You've got months and months of training to do before you're ready to get back on the field.

Imagine if you did that with your emotional state when you've been hurt or suffered a loss. Instead of patching, actually taking the time to repair and rebuild. Instead of marching right back in front of the train that hit you and continually ending up in the emotional Emergency Room, take a break and heal up. Then, do some research and study the patterns that put you in that place in the first place (yours, or someone else's).

What if we took the time that's necessary to actually get stronger, instead of constantly ripping the same hole in our hearts?