Did you ever have the experience as a child, where you would go to one of your parents and say “Mommmm…my arm hurts when I touch it”…and then your parent would respond by saying “Well don’t touch it.”…nope? Just me? I can remember lots of instances where I would complain to my parents about something or other hurting and their solution was to “not touch it”…….it was the same with emotional pain too. I would say “Mommm, Michael won’t do (insert whatever my older brother wouldn’t do)” and my mom would respond by saying “Okay, leave him alone” AKA “Don’t touch it”.
I have been reminded of my mom a lot lately in the therapy room when talking about coping skills. In this time of an election, a pandemic, a social crisis movement, you name it…I have so many clients that come to me and say “The news is making me sooo anxious”…and guess what I want to say? I want to channel my mom and say “Don’t touch it” or more appropriately “So stop watching the news!!”
So I actually have said that on many occasions, and the responses vary from “Well I have to stay informed” to “I can’t help it I have to watch it”….but here’s my question about those responses…why? Why did me as a childhood feel the need to touch my arm if it hurt when I touched it? Why do we feel the need to hurt ourselves? ……..We thrive off of emotional pain. I could go into details about all of the reasons we thrive off of emotional pain, but that’s a whole different blog post…..the point of me saying this today is so we can recognize how we all thrive off of this emotional pain.
Okay, now if we all recognize that we thrive off of this emotional pain, does that mean we will stop doing it? Probably not. Our brains are cool like that….so we have to actively make the CHOICE to stop hurting ourselves. To recognize that yes, this is causing me pain, and then choose to stop causing ourselves pain…..it sounds simple, but as we all know, it’s not.
But let me ask you this? Have you ever benefited from:
- Picking that scab
- Biting your nails
- Staying up too late when you know you have to get up early
- Not drinking water because it’s a hassle to get up and go get a glass of water
- Saying “I don’t need ibuprofen, this headache will go away” and suffering through it
- Agreeing to spend time with people that you know will make you feel poorly about yourself
- Going on your ex’s Facebook page to look at how happy they are with their new partner
This is why, it is completely okay to cope with the election by looking at the hilarious memes…because I think we can all agree that the election memes were fantastic this year. Of course we want to stay informed. Of course we want to be aware of what’s going on in the world. Of course we want to help, support, advocate, and educate. But do we want to pick that scab? Will that help us? It absolutely will not.
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For your viewing pleasure, some hilarious 2020 presidential election memes: