Why relief is no completion Written by Brendan Mooney Psychologist
We can all relate to wanting relief from something, whether it be from pain of a physical injury or a psychological tension of some kind…but perhaps an honest reflection of what exactly is relief may support in deepening our relationship with ourselves and becoming more open to truly addressing our issues.
Relief provides short-term reduction or in some cases elimination of symptoms, however relief is merely surface layer…in other words it does not address the underlying issue or condition that resulted in the symptoms in the first place.
For example, if a person is experiencing physical pain (e.g. stomach pains) from underlying emotional tension, they can take medication to relieve the pain; however once the pain is no longer do they just go back to living the same life as before? No doubt many of us can relate to this example, but what if there is a deeper relationship we can develop with ourselves? Whilst there is nothing wrong with, for example, taking medication for pain, it is important to consider our intention when we do, for this changes our entire relationship with it.
If we are seeking relief from something, it shows our intention is to avoid or escape from our woes and dilemmas, rather than seek true answers to address them. This inevitably leads to finding ourselves in the same situations again and again, only to experience short reprieves in between.
What if we changed our relationship with symptoms, such that rather than seeking to avoid or eliminate them we viewed them as markers for what we need to bring attention to? What if our bodies are constantly communicating messages to us about how we are living and treating ourselves, but are we open to receiving and adhering to these messages or determined to avoid them as much as possible?
Hence whilst we can still take the necessary care to reduce or eliminate symptoms, for no-one needs to suffer, this article focuses on our intention and relationship with symptoms.
What if we looked more deeply within for answers rather than settle for short-term gains that inevitably lead us into a deeper hole in the end? This changes our relationship with ‘feeling better’, for if ‘better’ is based on having less symptoms we may be selling ourselves short of what we truly deserve. Are we worth the effort to completely eradicate an issue or condition, irrespective of whether we have symptoms or not? Of course we are. Otherwise we are merely putting off what we need to look at for as long as possible, ‘as long as I can get away with it.' But what does this intention say about our true commitment to life?
For example, if we experience anxiety do we attempt to manage the symptoms or address the underlying issue resulting in the anxiety in the first place? The former will make a person feel better, but is this truly better or just better than before?
Hence when compared to truly addressing an issue, better takes on a whole new meaning and value. If ‘better’ equals masking what we will inevitably all have to eventually deal with, is this kind of ‘better’ actually better at all?
More will be written in an upcoming series of articles on this topic. If you would like to read more be sure to subscribe to receive email updates.
BIOGRAPHY Psychologist Brendan Mooney works with adults, adolescents and children. With a genuine interest in people's well-being, Brendan brings a warmth, practicality and an equality that supports clients to truly address underlying issues and blockages that are preventing them from moving forward.