If someone was to hear the term ‘legitimate suffering’, it might not make any sense to them. But, if they were to hear the word ‘neurosis’, they might have a rough idea about what it means.
This could be seen as a normal part of living in a society that encourages the avoidance of pain and living on the surface of oneself. There are numerous ways for someone to avoid their pain in the modern-day world and one outcome of this is that they can end up losing touch with their true essence.
What this comes down to is that when someone avoids how they feel, they will be pushing their painful feelings out of their conscious awareness. These feelings won’t have disappeared; they will just be in another part of their being – their body.
The good thing is that this will allow them to keep a lot of their emotional pain at bay; the bad thing is that this will cause them to lose touch with their true-self. The reason for this is that this part of them will be found in their body.
In addition to losing touch with their true-self, it can also be normal for them to feel flat and numb. This is because it is no possible to just remove one side of the emotional spectrum; if one side is removed, so is the other.
To change this and to feel alive, one can be drawn to things that will allow them to simply feel human again. Further, the weaker their connection is to themselves, the more instruction they are likely to need from the people around them and society.
The Fall Out
If they struggle with anxiety, fear, anger, sadness and are often irritable, for instance, it could be said that it is not going to be much of a surprise. Through being out of touch with themselves they won’t know why this is, but their unconscious mind/body will be talking to them.
They will be carrying a lot of baggage and this baggage will continually seep into their conscious mind. For their life to change, it will be a good idea for them to explore what is taking place at a deeper level with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
The Usual Approach
They are probably carrying trauma that they haven’t resolved and they may have experienced losses that they haven’t grieved. Instead of taking this route, they could end up taking something and/or just playing around with what’s taking place in their mind.
They will live in a society that is primarily about doing, not being, and the therapeutic approach of that society is typically going to be no different. A time when being present and just being, so that what is taking place at a deeper level can be explored and acknowledged, will be a time when it will be about changing and fixing things.
If they were to step away from mainstream society and looked for a solution elsewhere, they may soon come into contact with people that have a very different approach. During this time, they might be encouraged to engage in ‘legitimate suffering.’
This may involve grieving the loss of a loved one or crying out unmet childhood needs. Unlike illegitimate suffering, this won’t go on forever and it the suffering that they do go through will have a positive effect on their mental and emotional health.
From this quote alone, it is clear to see that Carl Jung knew how important legitimate suffering is when it comes to mental and emotional health. Yet, as this type of suffering has not been accepted – even after all these years - as a normal part of life by society, it is to be expected that so many people would be neurotic.
If society was any other way, that would be abnormal. A society that doesn’t encourage self-awareness or self-knowledge is not going to be able to function in a peaceful and harmonious way.
How Can I Serve You?
If you can relate to what I have written and need additional support, one of the ways that I can provide this is through the personalised consultations that I offer via Skype or Zoom.
To find out more, please go to www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/consultations. If you are committed to your own healing, it would be an honour to assist you on your journey.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.