It’s not the number of stocks or annuities in your retirement portfolio, nor the percent of interest accruing in your money market account. It isn’t the bonus received or expected from work or the amount of dollars in your checking and savings.
The most important bank account isn’t measured in cryptocurrency, gold, or one’s investment in semi-conductors. Those values, like everything else fiscally measured, will rise and fall. Just peruse renowned investor’s Ray Dalio’s recent books, Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail to discover the cyclical nature of economic abundance and poverty.
After our most basic needs are met—thank you Maslow (air, water, food, shelter, sleep), our spiritual bank accounts require our attention.
Only we humans possess an affinity to avoid pain and discomfort. We flee from hurt, instead of looking at it directly. We hide behind schedules or alcohol, or addiction to numb our pain.
Avoiding the pain, denying what we are feeling creates two potential outcomes over time:
- Mountain-out-of-a-molehill behavior
- Illness in the body and mind
We see this triggered behavior all over the world and in our own backyards:
-the “Karen” ready to attack someone for having a different opinion
-the road rage against a total stranger on the highway
-the friend who starts cursing up a storm when their iPad won’t charge
In all of these examples, the anger lashing out is not about what appears to be the source of their anger. The anger is a symptom of an inner pain that is going unaddressed.
The anger is misplaced, unexamined pain and a symptom of a depleted spiritual bank account.
Then there is the manifestation of pain in our body:
-the back pain that worsens in traffic
-the chest pain that “comes out of nowhere”
-the panic attacks
-the frequent malaise
Brene Brown refers to our tendency to swallow our pain, pushing it down, so it can’t see the light of day as “stockpiling.” These are the folks who say everything is fine, like a spiritual Unikitty (Lego movie) when things are feeling far from fine.
If we are in denial like a super-charged positive Unikitty, ignoring our wounds, they will fester. And if we aren’t “chandeliering,” we are likely to “stockpile” our negative emotion until they show up in our bodies.
It’s human nature to avoid pain and seek pleasure. But there’s a real danger in denial, in running from our negative emotion or swallowing it and swimming like a duck through life—graceful on the surface but fighting for our lives below.
Unexamined and untended to pain that remains hidden will fester, affecting either others (when we lash out) or our own bodies negatively.
When we take time to look our wounds directly in the eye, something wonderful happens: the wound itself begins to heal.
Our spiritual bank accounts fill when we honor our journey and respect the emotions we experience along the way. Emotions, like the weather, change; it’s only when we deny their existence or demand that certain ones stay that our bank account falters.