DEC 01 2011

How do your scars teach you to deal with emotions?

Exploring attitude, Minimalist mind

Schedules, deadlines, appointments, work to be done; you didn’t have time to pause. You didn’t even have the time to eat.

You were attacking your own mouth with the fork that had –you thought- some Greek salad on it. Then you asked: how can you stab your tongue so deep? This is surreal! It was not. I know this because it happened to me once. Gandhi: Only the strong can forgive.

You made a big hole. You, who once said that you were never making a piercing on you, not even for the sake of entertainment, made place for a dime in your tongue.

Tongues are incredible. They can regenerate as fast as any part of your body… unless the bacteria finds out about it. And, since tongues are so exposed to everything, they are a golden mine for bacteria.

What? You don’t like antibiotics? Bad luck!

You knew it was going to hurt. Every time you attempted to eat, speak, laugh, drink… it hurt. You tried to speak, it hurt. You decided to shut your mouth, it hurt. More than a pain in the neck, it did, because you don’t use your neck so often.

Time passes and one day you look at the mirror and you note an ugly scar in the middle of your tongue, but it’s OK because it doesn’t hurt anymore. You remember how uncomfortable you felt and you feel relief that you don’t have to suffer that again, you feel gratitude.

You go back to your working desk and continue with what you were doing: you were evaluating how 2011 went for you. Right there, you remember my last week’s post about draining your emotions before facing the task.

Nah! I don’t need to do that new-age thing, you say, I am tough enough, mature enough to take some heat.

You go on, but suddenly you feel uneasy about that plan that just didn’t work out fine, or that thing this person said about you when –she thought- you weren’t listening.

Now you question yourself: will that uneasy feeling affect your evaluation?

Here’s a trick to help you tell whether that emotion will alter your judgment or not.  Does it feels like the scar on your tongue? Can you think about it and feel relief that you don’t have to go through that experience again?

Or, you feel so uncomfortable that you have to immediately think of something else? If it feels so, you have to solve that before you try to evaluate your year; otherwise, you won’t be able to get positive results. You will get biased by your own emotions.

Now, here’s the important part: you don’t have to leave your working table to solve that. You can solve it immediately applying one of the strongest and more powerful tools we humans have. You guessed it: forgiveness.

You see: you must realize that the conflict is not in reality but inside your own head. And hence, you are the only one who can fix it. You have to figure out who is the one that you have to forgive, and then forgive that person.

One useful tip: that person might be just you.

It is that simple! Which doesn’t mean that it’s easy, but you knew that, didn’t you?


There are 16 comments

  • Suerae Stein on said:

    Hi Gustavo! I really like this post and can completely relate to your tongue story. My tongue has recently changed the course of my life for the time being. 3 months ago I suffered nerve damage to my tongue and have had a “burning tongue” every since. The pain has caused me a great deal of anxiety and now I am on medication for the pain (which helps a lot) and struggling to adjust to the medication for anxiety (I’m a bit sensitive to drugs). You are so right – it’s so much more than a pain in the neck! I also love your thoughts about forgiveness. So very important to our sanity and our humanity. But of course, it is simple, but not so easy. I hope your tongue has healed completely – I have never heard of that happening to anyone and it sounds just awful. Plus I am NOT a fan of antibiotics! :)
    Suerae Stein recently posted..Dining Room with a Loon

  • critters and crayons on said:

    Gustavo- That is such an interesting analogy! I’ve often thought that simple tongue wounds or canker sores were disproportionately painful because the pain was omni-present. There’s no salve you can put on it. How that kind of pain relates to self-evaluation is a very interesting idea.

    My friend and I were talking about something just today that seems related in some way. She and I were talking about the things we’ve done in the past, periods of constant rumination over very trivial things….for her, it was an obsession with what perfume she should wear and for me, it was an odd and temporary quilting habit. Years later, we were able to see that they were our brain’s way of re-directing our thoughts on a different path than the one we needed to focus on. The more we did it, the more we trained it, it seemed. She said she read that it was called “proxy”. So funny, I’d encounter this topic twice in the same day. :)
    critters and crayons recently posted..Not For The Pure Of Heart: The Things Kids Draw

  • Lisa on said:

    Ooh, yes, ouch! :) Ouch though in a good way. I love this post. I used to really judge how I felt or even that I had emotions. But, really, it’s just more material to add to my self-awareness. I don’t think many are willing to do the work or go there, but you are, which is so refreshing. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

  • Ellie Di on said:

    I’m a firm believer in our life experience all being valuable for the lessons it teaches. Having painful memories to guide us through current stucknesses is a fantastic way to navigate! I love the analogy you’ve created here; a wound in the past lets us judge what we’re ready for now (or if there’s still work to be done).
    Ellie Di recently posted..Day-to-Day Faith: A Good Sort of Lie

  • Desi on said:

    Forgiveness is HARD, but such a gift to yourself. I am a goal-oriented, driven person who struggles daily to live and be present today. Forgiveness helps bring us back to now. It’s letting go of what happened then, accepting its lessons, and moving on. Hard to do, for sure. But valuable :)
    Desi recently posted..100 Foods

  • gustavo on said:

    Hi, Suerae, great to see you again! I am sorry to know about your tongue problem. I hope the burning completely disappears and you can remember the problem with relief. Cheers!

  • gustavo on said:

    Hi Patricia! That’s exactly the point. I will research more about that “proxy” re-direction of thoughts you mentioned. It sounds very interesting.

  • gustavo on said:

    Hi, Lisa, Great to hear (?) from your! Thanks for the encouragement and, you are so right. Not many want to make the distance, but it is so rewarding to face those ghosts and realize that they really aren’t there. Isn’t it?

  • gustavo on said:

    Hi Ellie! Great comment! That’s exactly the idea. Thanks for passing by.

  • gustavo on said:

    Hi Desi! You are absolutely right. Forgiveness allows you to live in the present as much it does liberate you from being anchored to the past through emotions. You don’t have to say you are a goal-oriented, driven person. It tells from all the daily goals you set for yourself.

  • Sophia on said:

    It is really great post and thank you so much. Yes, we need more to learn how to forgive others especially these persons you hate and how to forgive ourselves, which is important. At the most of the time, when you forgive others at the same time you let off yourselves. Of course, it is simple to just only say it, and rare person could do it completely.
    Sophia recently posted..Forex Robots Are Dangerous

  • Therapy Session: Forgiveness | Your Daily Dose on said:

    [...] Credit: Why keep it all to yourself? [...]

  • Kate on said:

    Dear Gustavo,

    This is my personal blog.

    My next post scheduled for 15 August 2012 is about forgiveness. Looking through Google Images for pictures of forgiveness, I came across the above image of Gandhi.

    I like that image and I think it fits in with the theme of my next post. I am writing this seeking your permission to use your image in my blog post. My site is not a commercial one. If you grant me the use of the image, I will gladly mention your site in my post and link the image to your page.

    I would appreciate a reply.

    Thank you for your time.


    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
    Kate recently posted..A Few Good Men

  • gustavo on said:

    Please, go ahead!

  • Kate on said:

    Thanks, Gustavo! I mostly certainly will! :-)

    Kate recently posted..A Few Good Men

  • Therapy Session: Forgiveness | Your Daily Dose on said:

    [...] Photo Credit: [...]

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