In this post I share real-life examples of pain. I’ve explained for years how pain and fear are the two pillars that support all anti-social, ungodly and self-destructive behaviour. More about this critical aspect of life and living follows. Enjoy.
The graphic above represents the way that pride provides the platform for the two main pillars of human failings. While most see the symptoms at the top, some dig deeper and identify the pain and fear* in a given situation, rarely do we see human pride identified. Even less rarely do we see the solution spoken about or implemented. Briefly you can see the truth in this graphic (which is actually the Christian worldview) by thinking of any human ill manifesting in your own world – alcoholism, addictions, suicidal tendencies, lies, arrogance or violence, greed, self-interest, immorality – you name it. Then identify whether it is fear or pain (or both) that fuels and drives that human ill. Guaranteed that pride will be the root of that fear or pain.
If you reverse the process you can also see this truth a different way. When we choose humility, there is no place for fear or pain. They crumble and dissolve naturally and without effort, for pride is the enabler and creates the environment (in a spiritual sense this is authority) in which fear and/or pain can exist. When fear and pain are permitted to exist (again when they have spiritual authority to exist) the myriad consequential manifestations are to be expected – they are only natural.
Before I get into the solution I share some recent examples of pain from my life in the last week or so. You don’t have to push the boundaries like me to experience pain. It is par for the course, if you are alive anyway!
I got whiplash from a shoulder charge given my by an angry landlord on Friday the 12th October. He’s damaged goods in some ways and has some personal issues. Cutting a long story short he bottled up his challenges with having another body around his land and lashed out with what is called (in legal terms) a “Retaliatory Termination”. Basically he told us to “F” off because we had an argument over how the power should be calculated, so he terminated our lease. Everything paid up I hasten to add, if you’re thinking that it was a fight over money.
Retaliatory Terminations are illegal and a criminal act. There is a process to go through to declare them retaliatory and thus illegal and that is underway. In the meantime we have a stubborn tenant who knows the law [that’s yours truly in case you hadn’t worked that one out] and resists any bullying from a landlord with anger issues [that’s him!]. I copped it, plus a little more with an extended period of conflict – physical violence doesn’t go well with me and I ended up flat on my back in hospital with a very sore head undergoing a range of tests, CT scan and the works. Because of my heart failure issues and the medication I was on they didn’t want to risk anything.
Pain. But this was the physical pain. This is not the kind of pain we’re talking about here. The emotional pain comes from pride and it manifests like this . . . “Why me? Why the f*** can’t people just get on with each other? Why can’t people just do what they say and say what they mean instead of lashing out like lunatics and dumping their problems onto others? And specifically this means . . . ME!
In a perfect world this sort of thing wouldn’t happen, but since the old folks screwed up way back when in the Garden of Eden, we’ve not been living in Paradise. Things go awry from time to time – eh wot? When I choose to humble myself and get over my ‘right’ to have perfection around me, then this dude’s anger problems are just to be expected. Who knows, if I was in his shoes I might deck me too if I was bigger than me. You get what I mean?
Now we’re down to just physical pain and that took a week to dissipate. Big deal.
Self Destructive Pain Relieved
Then I helped a poor lady who had been fighting the Bartercard Beast for quite a while. My help in advising her, getting her to do things like writing it all down for me and protecting her interests then led into her decision to stand up to the bullies. She determined that she was going to take them on (with my help of course). Suddenly as she humbled herself and sought help, she started to act constructively and suddenly she could see that justice may actually be possible, and life was different. She perked up and is now a lot more relaxed, less stressful and when she realised that there was help out there; there was hope, she could then laugh and smile and be a great mother to her kids and . . . well again you can see the picture – fear gone (or at least addressed constructively) and bingo, the worry and consequential stuff has no right to exist. Listen to her exact words now and see the freedom that comes when pride is identified and dealt with.
BC [conflict] makes my blood BOIL.
Then now . . .
Thank you for your words of reassurance. Really appreciate it. I’m fine, really. Have been praying hard and have faith and resolve.
This lady will win her court case against Bartercard I know because she is smart, speaks and deals with the truth and has a firm resolve with solid moral ground and great support. Her opposition is none of that.
Pain . . . going.
Then there is another ‘mate’ of mine who sent me this little snippet – a gem of wisdom gained. I’ll address it in a little more detail because it is hugely significant for him because as you can see from my reply, he is learning to humble himself and is maturing in the process. It’s a great lesson for the rest of us. Understand here please that we have a strong relationship and have known each other and worked together for a decade or so.
[Greeting redacted] I’ve come to the conclusion over the past month that, You can’t help the people Does not matter who or what it is, even if people are motivated by something the motivation will fade. This is why I feel you can try bring people together but they all have different wants and needs. I cannot see a way forward trying to help others. [Small talk redacted]
When you understand this guy, that he is a genuine caring fella, a regular selfless nice-guy who just wants to help others and needs or asks for nothing in return for himself when he does reach out, then this little snippet is loaded with . . . yes you guessed it . . . pain.
Emotional pain. It comes from his trying too hard and/or unrealistic expectations.
So let’s dig deeper to understand how this pain retains its existence which then causes this man to want to give up in despair (if I’m reading him right). Remember that his only mission in life is to help others. That’s what he is built for – it’s in his genes. He’s extraordinarily humble in that sense. He’s not about himself or his ego or getting things from others. But his pride is causing him traumas because he is pained. Mostly likely he is hurting that he sees no return when others come and go, nor any point in pushing onwards trying to help people.
I won’t know until I catch up with him sometime what this is all about but knowing him he’s probably opened his doors to others in need and gotten his fingers burned. I suspect that some have come around him motivated to do something with him then fallen by the wayside, or trashed him somehow.
The point is (for Christians at least) that we have no right to harbour resentment (pain). Oh sure we all experience it and we can have it – in my case I think that the Prime Minister of Samoa is just a common crook with unbridled power up there and that he’s a gutless coward to do what he did behind closed doors to get rid of me – that’s all very real – but to harbour that resentment is pride – mine. Facts are facts though so until the coward in charge of Samoa changes his tune, I will speak them and long after he is gone too if I outlast him.
Likewise with this guy – he’s hurting because he has some perception that he’s entitled to something in return for his good heart and giving.
Listen then to my reply to him, and see if you can pick up the threads of the Christian worldview as I help him to work through that pain. I intersperse commentary as I go so that you can see my thinking in a real-life, real-time mentoring situation. I know this guy and he wouldn’t mind if I used his real name, he’s that humble but I won’t, deliberately.
Hey [name redacted]
Sounds like you’ve been up to your old tricks – again – giving to those who think will appreciate it and not getting anywhere in the process? People are like that eh?
So what I have done here is to try to lighten the load for this poor guy. I’ve identified that this is not the first time it’s happened [for I know him well] and I’ve ‘framed’ his pain into the words that he’s “not getting anywhere” which should (if I am right) connect with him. If I’ve got it right he should be saying – “Yes! Nisi has got it! [My close friends call me Nisi, an abbreviation of the Samoan transliteration of Dennis – Tenisi ].” He may also be thinking now along my lines that his pain is being caused by HIS issues and not the actions of those unappreciative ones who have hurt him.
This reframing is a manipulative act, which if trust does not exist could cause conflict between us, but because I know that he respects me and that we can rectify any misunderstanding if it ever arises (we’ve done this before) I went straight in and reframed his struggles at the outset. My goal was to bring him from frustration at others to understanding that he had issues that were actually more important to work through than the rest of the world’s.
I now get even more direct and am moving closer to a prescriptive phase fairly quickly. I can only do this because I know that he feels heard, and that he knows I care.
Bro, you gotta understand that people are people. Look at what Samoa did to us. I’ve found that when I try to help people, I only get slapped in the face – the same as you. It’s a good lesson in humility. When you see Jesus strung up on the cross it doesn’t always connect to us here today but when you realise that when we get trashed for doing the right thing too, that this is OUR cross TODAY, then it makes more sense.
OK so again I know that this man shares a Christian faith, so I am free to discuss this sort of thing without hesitation. What I have done, (or at least hope to have done) is to connect his suffering to the Master’s. The reason I do this is that my prescription (which is about to follow) has a faith component to it and he needs to – indeed it is critical that – he needs to see the connection between what Jesus did and his own life, personality and tendencies to give.
Now I get to the point and hit him between the eyes. Again please understand that our relationship is strong here and I have taken the liberty to be direct many times before and he’s appreciated it.
I’ve found that whenever I get hurt that eats into me so much that I go under, then I have to humble myself. I’m usually trying too hard. It’s God’s business not mine to save the world. I have learned over the years to just do my part, what He specifically wants me to do, and leave the rest to Him. Much more faith and less striving, worry and pain!
This guy is self-aware enough to apply my situation into his. He will be saying straight away to himself, “Yup, Nisi is telling me to humble myself!” and he’ll be right. He may come back to me and check that is what I meant but he’ll know. That’s the beauty of humility. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or Rocket Scientist to know truth.
The secret I have found is to do things for Him, not me. When I give to others I choose those whom I think are receptive to Him. That’s why Ewen Me are still talking years after other idiots have come and gone. You’re open to wisdom. They aren’t.
And this is true. So many people come and go. Relating his troubles into my life and story helps him to see that we are the same with the same challenges.
The thinking I have goes like this . . . “God, You touched me [saved me or whatever] directly so that means that You can do it to anyone anywhere that You want. You want me to be a [web developer, property developer, people motivator, lawn mowing contractor] or whatever, so I trust You to use me how you want.”
Again when mentoring and sharing for others, if we can help others see how we think it helps mould their thinking as they imbibe strength from ours. In a Christian sense this is faith-building. When we see that others truly do have faith, we can step out stronger ourselves, and of course the teaching is to do things because of Him and for Him not to gain something for ourselves.
Then I seek out people who I think are ready and willing to get the words of wisdom that pour from my pen. What God does with that is up to Him in my books. If He wants to have one person an hour or a day or a week wander by and engage, that’s up to Him.
Now this is an important thing for this guy – to find the good ones. We always tend to see people from our own perspective. If we have anger problems we will see everyone out to get us. If we are a thief, we will never trust others. If we’re a smoker we will identify more with other smokers than with the non-smokers. This is the same trouble my mate probably has here . . . he gives (probably to those in need) and unrealistically expects others to appreciate his giving. I am saying, “Get smarter” in a gentle way.
You know, it’s a funny thing but I’ve found that the less we do, the more He can!
A platitude I know but it may give him rise for thought!
I’d be choosing to enjoy myself as much as I can and engineer life so that I win no matter whether people take the help you’ve got or not. I’ll write you a Short Story about this relaxed real deep faith sometime shortly and publish it under Short Stories. It will be called The Slow Bunny.
The first part of this paragraph is direct advice. He’ll have to deal with the how and why of it but I’ve ended my response with two recommendations – “enjoy yourself” i.e. lighten up (but don’t give up) – and [again] “get smarter” so that he achieves his needs/wants despite the other [fools] out there!
Hope you’ve enjoyed that little counselling session. Time to grab a beer!
So I conclude now with the solution – humility.
The opposite of pride is humility.
Humility, unlike pride, is a choice. We are (since the Fall) proud by nature [it’s a theological thing – don’t go there unless you’ve got a decade to discuss it!], but we must choose humility consciously.
Humility is not a feeling. It is not genetic. It can be taught and shown and anybody, anywhere in the world at any place and time can choose to humble themselves. We know this because Christ asked it of us. He wouldn’t ask us to do something that we couldn’t! He showed it, and demonstrated His choice day after day right through His ministry to the deliberate choice to remain silent against His accusers and pay the price. He had the authority to blast the world into hell, the lot of them and us, but instead chose humility, and to give.
When we do choose to humble ourselves things change. In whatever area that we choose humility we instantly destroy that specific pride. With the pride unjustified (in a spiritual/legal sense) it has no basis to exist and vanishes. It doesn’t mean that we are instantly perfect but it does mean that there is no longer any authority for that pride and it will naturally fall away, often instantly.
Pair and fear likewise without a plinth upon which to exist must also fall away, thus the drivers to the anti-social, self-destructive and ungodly behaviours cease to exist thus behavioural change can then occur. This is a process, we call it sanctification (the process of becoming like Christ) and it is a lifetime process that never concludes in this world.
Upon choosing to humble ourselves we gain wisdom. Our life can change immediately (for the better) thus the world can become a better place.
If we invert the above description we can see that it is individuals who are “up themselves” who let fear and pain dictate their lives, thus create the problems that are all too obvious. A pretty yucky way of saying it, but the same message nonetheless.
The big one is always, “Who is Jesus Christ?” I have found that the only reason that an individual does not accept Christ is pride. I’ve described the solution to pride above.
Chin up and let’s get on with living eh? Hopefully you’re a little wiser . . . thanks for reading this one.
* The pain and fear I refer to here are not natural pain such as incurred when hitting your finger with a hammer or fear of heights or when attacked by a bear