The emotional suffering inflicted on us is a part of our being. We are what we are for our scars. We are so used to trying to “fix” everything. Our parents, teachers, religious institutions, political leaders, and very societies all operate under the belief that life is about fixing, improving, and striving for an ideal state.
The moment our pure childhood minds were filled with beliefs and judgments about life was the moment we start to become human fixers instead of human beings. Instead of meeting life as it is, we start seeing life through a lens of “this is good” and “this is bad.” Instead of seeing the interconnectedness of everything, we started thinking in a linear, rigid, and mechanistic fashion about life.
Of course, while this was necessary for our evolutionary growth, it ultimately stunted our capacity to open to life, and encouraged us to constantly close to everything around and inside of us.
One of the biggest experiences we isolate ourselves from in life is that of emotional suffering. Understandably, it’s our primal instinct to avoid that which hurts us. And the number one way we avoid our emotional suffering – while at the same time believing that we’re dealing with it “efficiently” – is by trying to “fix” it.
The Eternal Quest to Find an Emotional Panacea
We try to fix our emotional anguish and suffering in a multitude of ways.
We try fixing our emotional suffering in self-destructive ways, such as through drug, alcohol, food, and other addictions. We call this “avoiding” or “numbing” the pain. And we try to fix our emotional suffering in socially encouraged and acceptable ways such as by reading self-improvement books, going to workshops, and seeing psychologists.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The socially prescribed ways of dealing with pain are very useful and important. I absolutely encourage people to go down this path if it calls to them. But while these socially prescribed ways help us to manage, understand, temporarily release, and cope with pain, sometimes so that we can function completely “normally” again, they do not in any way “fix” our emotional suffering.
And besides, isn’t that why we read and listen to all of these specialists in the first place: to find some kind of panacea, some kind of permanent “fix” for our emotional suffering?
But if you’ve been in the self-improvement spiritual sphere for a while, you’ll realize that the quest to fix your pain, to make yourself whole again, is never-ending. Certainly, there are many brilliant tools out there, but none of them quite seem good enough. Otherwise, why would you keep moving from book to book to teacher to teacher?
The Danger of Trying to “Fix” Your Emotional Suffering
In our innocent folly, we believe it’s possible to “fix” emotional suffering, just like it’s possible to fix a mangled car or manky old kitchen cabinet.
We believe that if we look hard enough and try many different techniques, we will finally find the perfect “fix” to all our troubles. This quest leads us in circles and can continue for many years, even whole lifetimes. But in the end, we constantly end up wanting more. And it is this eternal thirst for a “fix” that leads us to spiritual addiction.
What we miss along the way is that the more we try to fix our emotional suffering, the more our anguish actually deepens and increases.
The more we try to mend and repair ourselves, the more broken we feel.
Isn’t that an odd paradox? What an irony.