Healing and Pain

By Greg Baer M.D.

April 4, 2011

Over the years I've done a great deal of manual labor in my backyard: planting, cutting down trees, splitting wood, hauling boulders, digging ditches, and the like. I didn't realize that in the process I was damaging my shoulders, and eventually I couldn't move my left shoulder at all without pain. I then had two choices that I could see. I could live with the mild to moderate pain indefinitely, or I could choose surgery and physical therapy, which would actually increase my short-term pain. I chose the surgery, and now I use my shoulder freely and without pain.

Every day we all make similar choices between short and long-term pain. When we're empty and afraid, we attempt to decrease our immediate pain with the use of Getting and Protecting Behaviors, but these always lead to increased misery, both now and in the future. As I talk to people in pain, I uniformly recommend some form of emotional or spiritual surgery —a genuine change on their part—which always involves some short-term discomfort, because changing the behavior patterns of a lifetime is difficult.

People in pain will do almost anything to avoid more pain, so even though I describe a path that will eventually lead to a virtual elimination of emotional pain, many people simply will not go through a brief period where they experience additional discomfort. When people have been lying, attacking, and acting like victims all their lives, it can be quite frightening to lay those behaviors down. It can seem strange and uncomfortable to simply tell the truth about themselves in order to create the life-giving opportunities for other people to love them unconditionally.

When we turn our lives toward the path of Real Love, the initial pain is almost entirely a result of our own fears and lack of faith as we struggle with that which is unfamiliar to us. The worst pain in our lives comes from our old patterns of behavior. It's lying and anger that are exhausting and agonizing. By comparison, telling the truth about ourselves is easy. Sure, if we tell the truth about ourselves, people might reject us, but "It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not." (Andre Gide)

In the case of my shoulder, I'm glad that I chose to do what was necessary to allow the healing process to occur, despite the pain involved. With surgery, however, sometimes the outcome is not positive. With Real Love, the outcome is far more certain. As we plunge into the process of truth-telling and lovingexercising faith in the end result, even though there is usually some discomfort involvedwe are absolutely guaranteed to experience the rewards that come with the healing power of love and joy.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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