Josh Schwarzbaum, MD, MBA

Have you ever met a kid who stubbed his toe and was screaming in pain?

Did you notice that same kid after his mother gave him a kiss and he walked away feeling better? In one moment he stopped crying, as if nothing ever happened and the pain was gone. 

In the realm of trauma and traumatic experiences this is quite an interesting phenomenon. If we take a minute to look at this on a deeper level, we see a kid who was just physically hurt. He kicked something, his toe hurts and he’s crying out in pain. Curiously though, in an instant, he gets over the pain as if nothing ever happened.

This begs a question, is the pain real? 

If we say yes, then how does he get over it so quickly? If we say no, then, why was he crying in the first place?

If you ask him if the pain is real he would say yes, but then it vanishes. 

In kicking a hard object, we can certainly say that the potential for pain is there. In this situation, the pain seems to have been actualized given the child was crying and saying it hurts. 

What we also see is the incredible effect of a mother’s kiss. With a belief in the curative power of the mother’s kiss the child heals instantaneously. 

Maybe this wasn’t the worst pain in the world but how do we go from tears to being just fine in a matter of seconds?

It comes down to a thought and a belief. If we focus on the pain and believe in it, we feel it. We react to it and our psyche and behavior change because of it. However, with a slight shift, this child was able to believe in something else. That he is now ok and all of a sudden the pain is gone as if it was never there. 

This type of experience happens in many different aspects of our lives and if we take a moment to notice that, we can heal much faster than before. 

When we get knocked down emotionally or physically what is the belief associated with it? Is there potentially another belief that can help pick us up?

If that potential is there, do we need to get stuck in one that hurts?

In looking around we can see this happening with our friends, family members, and coworkers. Someone says something and fighting ensues but then a new interpretation comes to light and we’re back to being friends. 

With a new belief comes a new perspective and with that fighting ceases to exist.

What changed though? Objectively, the external situation still is as it is. The change is in thought, in the way we think about the situation. It’s the common denominator between how we all experience whatever happens outside of us. 

When we discover that there are always a multitude of possibilities and that there are endless amounts of thoughts, we can take our experiences with a grain of salt because they no longer define us. It’s our thoughts about the experience that do. 

With a change of thought comes a change of feeling and while a situation may be painful, in an instant it all can change. So keep on kicking…

Dr. Josh Schwarzbaum is a triple board certified physician in emergency medicine, addiction medicine, and emergency medical services. He consults for organizations and coaches individuals helping them find their natural resilience and peace of mind no matter what life brings their way.

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