The scene never stops being repeated and imitated, and not because it’s particularly archetypal. There is always a couch, a blanket, and a big tub of ice cream. A storm in our mind and the feeling that our little space of comfort is the only place on earth where we are safe from earthquakes, atomic bombs, terrorist attacks and other emotional catastrophes.
It is the cold and sweet taste of ice cream, in contrast with the heat from the blanket. This serves as the first ink we use to write our attempts of reconciliation with the world. It is a raft where we can try to identify everything that has been threatened. Things that are important for us, regardless of whether there are many or just a few.
The power of the cold
Ice is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic elements in the world. When our feet are cold, we can barely feel them. When we have a muscular injury, ice is one of the first things people recommend for us to use in order to fight the inflammation. It helps prevent blood from collecting even more in the affected area.
Taking our distance from the “hot zone” will also allow us to cut off the flow of unnecessary thoughts. These thoughts only increase the size of our emotional wound, as well as the drama around it. Besides, getting out of conflict situations in which we feel that the dynamic of the atmosphere is dragging us down, also prevents us from saying anything we don’t really want to say. Or at least we don’t want to say it with all of that anger and lack of tact.
If you think of all of the words you have said and which you have later regretted, surely you said most of them in the heat of the moment. You blurted them out in the middle of that inertia we were talking about before. Being angry or sad momentarily blinds you and takes away any care and tenderness from how you express yourself.
Cold is good for getting your tranquility back, but later it prevents your wounds from healing
If we put ice permanently over a muscular injury, the blood will not flow. Therefore, that tissue will not get the nutrients it needs in order to heal. It happens the same way with emotional wounds. The cold of the ice cream is good for us during the first afternoon or the first few hours. After that, human contact, warm and rich as it is, is the best thing to help us cure that wound.
Even contact with ourselves, an inside look, a glance into the interior we have been ignoring for so long because it scares us, can help. In fact, if we maintain that cold, the concerns and sadness will settle inside of us. And after that, it will be more difficult to get rid of them. That is why it is so important to have a social circle which pays attention to you. One which forms part of your emotional immune system.
Our mind, so wonderful and full of magic, works this way. It has adaptive mechanisms which can be used within short spaces of time. For example, one of them can be the denial due to the loss of a loved one. But these mechanisms can turn against us when they threaten to settle in permanently. Just like ice, any type of disconnection with reality must have an expiration date. This is so that the short term performance the mechanism offers us isn’t overcome by the prejudice of keeping it for too long.
We used the analogy of the typical afternoon in pajamas eating ice cream, but there are more subtle escapes. Long walks alone or the irascibility we use to keep away anyone who tries to approach us. The truth is we’re not mad, but we don’t want anyone to bring back what we’ve declared war on.
We do not want to take it out on them, and that is when we add a sense of guilt. We do not know how to ask for space, because no one taught us. And even if someone did teach us, then some people understand that under that request lies just the opposite request. That is why emotional intelligence resides in subtle people. It is a matter of nuances and rules which can bend until the point of rupture. Use emotional intelligence in your favor.And remember, when the ice cream is over, it’s time to go back to the world, not to buy more.