Don't Shoot Yourself With The Second Arrow
Submitted by: lalapancakes⚫ 10 months ago
Stop voluntarily hurting yourself after you’ve been involuntarily hurt. There is an actual term for such a thing I picked up through the neurology department over at UCLA. If you’ve sustained injury, then try to not let your mind take you down a dark path of “what if’s” and "for shames" regarding your injury and future. It will only influence more pointless anguish.
If you’ve suffered a traumatic event in your life, don’t trick yourself into thinking you don’t deserve the good things later in life because of some kind of self sabotaging reason. If you have a symptom which “could be” a kind of indicator to a greater issue, don’t let your mind get carried away with the worst case scenario because there’s a greater chance it’s nothing - and you’re just having a weird symptom that day. Take a breath. Refocus. Give yourself some space. What happens after something traumatic, be it emotional or physical, is considered - what the medical profession refers to, as 'the second arrow.'
The idea is when you’re wounded by the first arrow, it’s not your fault. Afterwards, you’ll tend to fixate, to psychologically wound yourself beyond - that’s the second arrow. You are shooting yourself by self loathing, by blame, by being obsessive about the thing that initially wounded you.
“I understood his analogy in relation to my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing; acknowledging what is there – pain, frustration, anger, fatigue - without amplifying it. Then a door blew open and I saw how his example related to our relationship with others. Suddenly I saw arrows everywhere.
The Buddha once asked a student, ‘If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful?’ The student replied , ‘It is.’ The Buddha then asked, ‘If the person is struck by a second arrow, is that even more painful?’ The student replied again, ‘It is.’ The Buddha then explained, ‘In life, we cannot always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. And with this second arrow comes the possibility of choice.’”