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Why we experience pain

We get hurt by angry words or actions of family members, neighbours, colleagues and sometimes, unknown people.Sometimes we overcome the pain by rationalising it.

entertainment Updated: Apr 09, 2010 20:18 IST
Parthip Thyagarajan
Parthip Thyagarajan
Hindustan Times

We get hurt by angry words or actions of family members, neighbours, colleagues and sometimes, unknown people. Sometimes we overcome the pain by rationalising it. We give them the benefit of the doubt. We begin thinking that may be their outburst was due to their disappointment with us — or some other tension or frustration. At times, the experience leaves us wounded.

Customers shouting at the service staff of a certain place, rail commuters cursing fellow-passengers, verbal altercations due to road rage — we witness anger everywhere. The weaker or helpless individuals tolerate ill treatment due to the anger of the so-called superior, powerful or rich. Equals, superiors or elders also tolerate pain caused by anger — sometimes for a mistake they made or sometimes for no fault of theirs.

Angry outbursts give us temporary relief, because we feel we are lightening our tension and relieving our pain. But does our pain actually reduce when we transfer it to someone who is not the cause of it? The process of anger retaliation and transferring pain to others causes immense stress, strained relationships at the workplace, turmoil at homes, accusations between neighbours and volatile customers at service centres.

As the fragile creatures that we all are, we tend to get a hurt a little, sometimes or to a large extent — how we manage difficult people or tense situations depends on how we understand others’ pain and internally manage ours. If we realise that the other person is hurting us because we have hurt him before, we should respond with patience and understanding.

If we have not hurt the one who is hurting us, and if the person is someone we care about, can we help him understand his feelings — so he does not continue hurting those who did not cause him pain? If the person cannot be helped, instead of harbouring feelings of anger, can we work towards letting our pain go? And move on without passing it on to anyone else?

First Published: Apr 09, 2010 14:47 IST