Patient: It hurts when I do this (demonstrates).
Doctor: Then don’t do that.

What if “do this” is “breathe,” or “live,” or something like that? Then the answer is completely different — doc starts looking at pain management, or underlying causes, and so on.

Don’t be too hasty in learning from your mistakes.

For one thing, you might learn the wrong lesson.

Some painful things are still worth doing.

A while ago Amy fell when she was climbing a tree. It was one of those pines with a thousand horizontal branches, all pretty thin, and pretty close together. She got a long scratch on her arm.

She said she was never going to climb a tree again.

Not the right lesson.

It’s not always obvious when “Then don’t do that” is the right lesson and when it’s misguided. It has to be evaluated on a lot more than the presence or absence of pain, or the degree of pain.

Freud talked about the Pleasure Principle — what drives most people most of their lives is to avoid pain and maximize pleasure, at nearly any cost. It is one mark of maturing to instead adopt the Reality Principle — to accept what is real and true even when it really hurts. That’s not to say to deliberately cultivate or seek pain; just not to avoid pain at the cost of reality.


2 thoughts on “Mistake

  1. This made me cry! I am feeling the stress ALREADY of having to see difficult, extended family people over the holiday season, so that is how it speaks to me today. I appreciate this post, Marcy!!!!

    • Big hug to you, Sandi; may God bless your distress tolerance.

      If through the deep waters He cause us to go,
      The rivers of grief shall not overflow;
      And He will be with us in troubles to bless,
      And sanctify to us our deepest distress

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s