Welcome to my Blog

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It Always HURTS When We Don't Get What We Want

One thing that we tend to forget is that it HURTS when we don’t get what we want. No matter if it’s just some inconsequential thing as wanting to watch "our" instead of "their" TV show, or attempting to come out best in some dumb dispute.

If we are not carrying around a lot of repressed fear, it hurts a lot less to not get what we want. But nevertheless, we still have to remember, and feel the actual pain of not getting what we want, or we immediately start blaming the person or situation that has prevented us from getting what we want, and we repress even more pain instead of acknowledging and feeling it directly.

I see it happen quite often right in front of my table when I am signing books. A child will ask for a book and the parent will say, “Sorry, not today.” And I can see the child suffers from that stopping of his energy. Mostly the parent is supportive and says, I’m sorry, I know you want a book but we just can’t do that right now.” The child’s pain is acknowledged, they feel their disappointment directly and recover, and they move on to wanting something else. Not much harm done. If the parent is not supportive and blames the child for wanting the book, the child will not be able to acknowledge his pain and will have to repress it.

But with adults it is quite different. Adults, in general, think that they are not SUPPOSED to feel bad when they don’t get some small thing they want. Sometimes I see a woman come up and look at my books and decide she would like to have one, and sometimes her husband (for perhaps very good and substantial reasons) shakes his head and indicates, “No, not today.”

Sometimes it’s okay, but sometimes I see a lot of resentment displayed on the part of the wife toward her husband. This is because the woman has not ever really been in touch with the fact that not getting what she wants is what causes her pain, NOT HER HUSBAND. It’s all biological.

Our only defense mechanism, the fight or flight response, is directly tied to our survival instinct. It is the strongest instinct we have. It’s how the human being moves forward. We want something, we move towards it, if we don’t get it, we experience fear. Then we either fight (go for something else, or try again) or take flight (feel bad about ourselves or blame the person or situation that caused our failure.)

No matter how small and inconsequential a thing we want at the moment, the survival instinct is always triggered if we don’t get it. We experience some fear which we translate as pain. Fear always hurts. If we are educated to this, and are disappointed in something, we simply notice a bit of pain, acknowledge it, and move on. If we don't understand the process, rather than feeling our pain and moving on, we start blaming the person or traffic light or store clerk who has obstructed us.

Husbands could do well to remember this. A great way to please one’s wife is to be generous in all the little things. A rose, a book, a bit of candy, "her" TV show. It’s sad when a man provides so much for his wife and yet to turn her down in some small thing can cause so much resentment because of a process that neither person has ever been educated to understand. It always HURTS when you don’t get what you want. No matter how small a thing is it. It's not the content, it's the process. It's not the degree of importance of the thing we want, it's the process of not getting it. A. B. Curtiss

No comments: