Should We Really Avoid Pain At All Costs?

3 years ago

Here in America, the trend seems to be avoiding pain at all costs.

I have seen mothers make the decision not to immunize their children for various vaccines, in part, because they do not want to see their children in pain and do not wish their children to experience pain. It seems that only in first world countries do people have the luxury to decide not to vaccinate their children, not because of the cost or availability, but because of some other reason. Though I am not a medical doctor, I am friends with several who have served in third world countries where vaccinations are scarce and too expensive (for the people who live there); people frequently die from diseases that can be prevented with vaccinations.

We have a comparatively abundant supply of these vaccinations, at a minimal cost, easily and readily available for everyone. These mothers I have known to purposely skip a vaccine here and there, have other reasons, in addition to the avoidance of inflicting pain, such as not appreciating certain ingredients (part of an egg or something else) in the vaccination. But, whatever the aversion, the pain from getting the diseases the vaccinations are designed to prevent would be so much worse and would last much longer.


Image: Stephen Depolo via Flickr


Not sold on pain being beneficial in this sort of circumstance?

How about the fact that placing a hand on a hot stove causing enough pain to quickly motivate a person to remove that person's hand from the hot stove? Pain can be an excellent warning to avoid imminent danger. A person without such (pain) warnings could quickly put one's own well being and life in danger.

How about emotional or psychological pain? Should we avoid that at all cost?

I have known people to drink until they are no longer aware of their feelings or they feel numb. A person who will continue to be a part of my life, not by any choice on my part, continues to be a raging and turbulent storm (perhaps tsunami is a more accurate description) in my life. Yesterday was a particularly rough day. At first, I wanted this piercing, raw pain, which has been further magnified by multiple instances of trauma caused by him, to go away. The pain and agony seemed almost unbearable. My wounds had not healed, and yet he was throwing salt in the tender, still painful wounds.

After much shedding of tears and desiring to hide (but not being able to, since I needed to be there for my children and provide for them), Soon I recalled that times of pain, at least in my life, have been opportunities for greater insight, growth, reaching out to others in pain or need, and better writing. Though I haven't actually put pen to paper for a few weeks or more, the wheels in my head are turning, I am figuring out how to put my thoughts into words, and soon, I shall be ready to put a voice to those feelings, thoughts, and experiences.…

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