The Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Implications of Injury
Of course, injury doesn’t just affect the individual physically. It can also affect them emotionally, mentally, or even spiritually. Here’s where things get a bit tricky and rather complex.
A broken collarbone could have been happened in any number of different ways. Perhaps, the injury was from tripping and falling down the stairs. Maybe, it was sustained as part of a car accident or while taking part in a sporting activity. The broken bone might have even occurred through domestic abuse or other violent attack.
It’s very easy to see that each of these situations would make someone feel and react in very different ways. A fall down the stairs may be chalked up to just an accident without much more to it. The incident would be simply brushed off, with little or no emotional baggage. In this case, the focus would be primarily on healing of the physical wound.
Conversely, spousal abuse could spark feelings of hopelessness, self-destructive questioning, and even trigger unresolved feelings from the past. Due to its emotionally charged nature, the current incident (or rather the interpretation of that experience) would then be used to describe and ultimately define the concepts of victimization, insecurity, and fear. Naturally, this description would be built upon and strengthened by any past events which brought up similar feelings.
Beliefs, Feelings, and Judgements
Beliefs are consciously and unconsciously built up of these collective feelings, or rather our interpretation and subsequent cataloguing of these feelings. Life is full of experiences. Whether we realize it or not, we pass judgment on each particular situation, looking for commonalities, trends, and ultimately understanding about how the world works, why, and how we fit into all of this.
Imagine a box full of rocks. Some are shiny and smooth like river pebbles. Others are jagged gemstones. There are also a wide variety of sizes and colors. That box could literally be organized, rearranged, and described in a million different ways.
Now, someone could pick only the smooth black rocks from that box and completely ignore all of the others. Of course, there are probably plenty of jagged purple gemstones in that batch too but after picking out twenty, one hundred, ten thousand, one hundred million smooth black stones the others are put aside without much conscious thought. In fact, in summing up the contents of that box, it might seem that most of the rocks are indeed smooth and black.
Would that interpretation be correct? Maybe. Maybe not.
The same could be said about life experiences. Babies start off life with no clue about how to interpret all of the happenings around them. Naturally, they start gathering information about how to survive in this strange new place.
At first, the child watches and listens to their parents and other caregivers. Quite quickly, the child learns that certain “understandings” are more important than others (food before toys). Thus, these experiences are judged to be worthy of focus, particularly when associated with more intense feelings, emotions, or reactions from the primary caregivers.
Later, as their world expands, these little ones learn from friends, peers, teachers, television, the Internet, etc. Knowingly and unknowingly, at each step along the way, they are building up a clearer picture of how the world works. Naturally, when information is repeated (or is given more importance because it is associated with an emotional reaction), it becomes interpreted as more likely to be true in the child’s mind.
Now, imagine a household where domestic abuse is common. From these repeated explosions, the child is faced with the emotional upheaval that occurs during and after these incidents. Over time, by watching and listening, these repeated incidents help the child define reality as he or she knows it to be.
Of course, not every male-female relationship that the person comes across in their life will be abusive but this preconceived notion will be their measuring stick, coloring the way they view and subsequently interpret the world. Essentially, this belief (healthy or unhealthy, true or not true) will be what they are looking to confirm. Therefore, every argument they witness will be added into the mix to strengthen this initial hypothesis. With each new piece of evidence, this belief will become so real to the individual that they will literally see nothing but this reality and feel it is inherently true.
In this way, experiences are judged (based upon past experiences), become charged with emotion, and are then internally catalogued according to similarity to previous feelings to reinforce preconceived beliefs. Thus, the experience with the broken collar bone could potentially strengthen a belief that reinforces fear, self-loathing, and victimization. In turn, this view colors the way we view ourselves, the world around us, and our personal potential.