It was the belief of Carl Jung, that our neuroses were in direct proportion to our inability to face our emotional pain. It follows that, in order to heal and find peace, we need to open our hearts to the reality of our lives; to face our hurt with acceptance and compassion.
And doing this goes beyond self-care. In being free from our pain and neurosis, we are free to open to others who are suffering. More than this, our example acts as an inspiration to others, creating a ripple effect through those in our lives, through their connections, out into the wider community, and down through the generations.
Doing this takes courage, but the rewards are immense. How wide have the ripples spread from the fearlessness of world-famous Vedran Smailovic, the Sarajevo cellist who, during the siege of his city, would play out among the ruined buildings, play at funerals despite sniper fire, because he believed people needed the healing properties of music? How many people have been inspired to act with courage and loving kindness – to face their own sorrows and to look with compassion on those of others – having heard his story?
But when we turn away from what is painful, we allow the wounds to fester, to flourish into neuroses and hate, causing further suffering for ourselves and those around us.