By Follow Your Own Rhythm
Do you hate being in pain? Silly question as no one enjoys pain. But when something bad happens in your life that makes you feel very hurt, do you tend to avoid the painful feelings it creates within you because it’s just too much to bear?
Does it scare you to feel the pains of rejection, judgment, heartbreak, loneliness, betrayal, abandonment, vulnerability, and suffering as a whole?
If the answer is yes, and feeling these painful emotions scares you, then that means you are not feeling the pain as it arises in your life, because what we fear, we most often avoid, which in turn means you are either:
1. Denying them: pretending that they don’t exist
2. Suppressing them: ignoring them even though they are very clearly there
3. Escaping them: running away from how you feel
4. Numbing them: physically doing something to numb the pain
5. Masking them: making them out to be something other than they actually are
Related article: In this blog, I discuss the truth behind our emotions and the importance of expressing them. I highly recommend reading it if you struggle with this as a whole.
Some examples of when we may not want to deal with our pain because it’s just too hard to bear is when:
- Going through a heartbreak…it’s always easier to mask the pain
- Someone betrays you by going behind your back to do something deceitful
- Someone bad mouths you, hurts your feelings, or makes personal attacks against your character
- Someone close to you dies or leaves you
- You hurt another person
- Issues from the past get triggered within you
- Other people point out how you hurt them
- A fear of yours gets activated
- You hear the truth…no one likes to hear the truth because the illusion is often times more comfortable
So if you have caught yourself not acknowledging and processing your painful feelings when you encounter certain situations, read on to learn more about why you might have this tendency and what you can do about it.
Why Do We Fear Pain?
The truth of the matter is that we all experience emotional pain to some extent. It is part of the human experience. We all go through pain. But the problem is that we have been conditioned to fear pain. We have been conditioned to believe that pain is bad. It’s evil. It’s here to hurt us.
We live in a culture that reinforces the belief that pain is undesirable and that we must get rid of it FAST. Just look at all of the commercials on TV…for every emotional problem that we have, there is a product you can buy that will “make you feel instantly better and solve all of your problems” be it with alcohol, a new drug, new TV, new car, etc.
The sad thing is that these “solutions” always leave us feeling worse and in even more pain. What’s even more sad is that people unknowingly feed into this manipulation and end up going back for more products because hurray, they have now become addicted to the immediate relief that it gives them.
This is what happens when people don’t make their own conscious decisions and let others decide what is good for them.
Look at what the healthcare industry is doing. You go to a doctor with a problem, anxiety let’s say, and they give you a set of pills to make you feel better. Whatever happened to getting to the root of the problem? And why aren’t doctors telling us to heal ourselves from within? Probably because the holistic approach doesn’t make them as much money as selling pharmaceutical drugs does. Plus, no one has the time or patience to do the work it takes to heal from within.
Our culture reinforces this “quick-fix,” “there’s a product for every problem” type of mentality, and innocent people who are truly suffering, don’t know where else to turn but to these trusted and respected “experts” who pledge that these external solutions will help them.
Don’t Listen to Culture
In a large part, our culture shapes our beliefs, which shapes our thinking, which shapes our choices, which shapes our behaviors, which creates the lives that we live.
Most of us live totally in the control of this influence believing that we have no power of our own. We have been conditioned to avoid pain. So when we do feel pain, we try to find an immediate relief for it which is usually through masking, escaping, denying, suppressing or numbing the pain. We are not conditioned to feel our pain and to let it process on its own time. But if we were, we would know that that is the only way to become free of it.
The main takeaway from this is that you HAVE to find your own answers, your own solutions, and look at new ways of thinking about even the most accepted ideas in our culture, because ultimately only you can know what is best for you. You have to find your own truth. Other people and big corporations have their own agendas, and it seldom is one that serves your mind, body and spirit.
I obviously feel very passionate about exposing the flaws of our conditioned ways of thinking, as I used to be under the influence of this limited thinking myself and it controlled my life. I want to help you free yourself from this pressure by sharing what I have learned.
If you’re interested in going deeper into this subject, the documentary, Neurons to Nirvana, exposes the truth about our healthcare industry, and talks about the harmful and addicting pills prescribed by doctors that sever our spirit and make us even more depressed. Click here to watch it free on YouTube. Also available on Netflix.
The flaws of our system creates flaws in our perceptions and beliefs and it is from this mindset that we approach our emotional pain.
Bottom line is this. Pain isn’t bad for us. It is our relationship with pain that is bad. Carl Jung summed it up really nice in this quote:
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
We have to deal with our own shadow so that we can fully live in our light. There is no going around that.
What Can We Do About Getting Rid of Our Pain?
That’s what everyone wants, isn’t it? No one wants to be in pain because it hurts and we all like to feel good. But by ignoring or suppressing the pain that we have inside of us, we don’t get rid of it, we just create the illusion that we got rid of it. So in order to let it go, we first have to bring it to our awareness, and experience it fully.
So I put together an 8 step process to help guide you through those times when you are in pain so that you can actually dissolve it for real.
I also created a free printable worksheet called “Feel It, Don't Fear It: A Guided Worksheet to Help You Process Your Painful Emotions” to go along with this so that you can actually do the work that this process requires (which you can download below.)
The worksheet is a general template that you can use every time you need to self-reflect and process your painful feelings and emotions.
8 STEP GUIDE TO FEELING INSTEAD OF FEARING YOUR PAIN SO THAT YOU CAN LET IT GO
STEP 1: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Your pain serves a significant purpose in your life. You have within you a very intelligent, behind the scenes, system that I believe is designed to serve your highest good. You can call this your soul, higher self, inner intelligence, etc. but when you are experiencing physical symptoms, this inner intelligence is basically communicating to you that something is wrong...That something is out of balance...And that something needs your attention so that it can be healed. It is YOUR job to pay attention to these signs, because when you ignore them for too long, they turn into chronic diseases, disorders, problems and pains.
Note that when you are in pain, nothing is trying to hurt you. Your soul is simply doing everything it can to communicate with you (in this case through your body) to let you know what areas need your attention. So if you are experiencing physical symptoms, you need to pay attention to what they are.
STEP 2: LET IT ALL OUT!
Do whatever you need to do to release all of that built up energy from your body. Crying, punching a pillow, screaming, going for a run; whatever method is best for you, just make sure you are not hurting anyone else in the process or taking your pain out on someone else. If you download my worksheet, you will have a space to let it out through writing.
If you want more ideas on how to release your emotions in a healthy way, read this blog where I included 8 ways.
STEP 3: RECOGNIZE WHAT CAUSED YOU THE PAIN
Reflect on what experience or person may have triggered this pain within you. Sometimes you don’t know what caused it but you just feel it. That’s okay. Recognize that too.
Reminder: DO NOT IGNORE THIS PAINFUL FEELING. If you ignore it, it will just get suppressed and surface again later when it gets triggered. Ignoring it does mean it doesn’t exist, so you are not free.
STEP 4: BRING ATTENTION TO THE FEELINGS IT CREATED WITHIN YOU
This step is very important. You need to recognize how you actually feel. What kinds of emotions are you having? This step requires complete openness and honesty.
STEP 5: BE A FRIEND TO YOURSELF
Avoid criticizing or judging yourself such as saying things like “I’m so weak for feeling this way, I’m such a looser-why can’t I just get over this feeling, I’m not capable of changing,” etc. Do not indulge in self-limiting thoughts like this because they will only make you feel worse and they are absolutely not true.
Instead, focus on thoughts that are positive towards yourself. Be kind to yourself. Accept yourself for feeling this way no matter how weird, unattractive or unideal it may be.
STEP 6: WITH THIS LOVING ENERGY TOWARDS YOURSELF, SIT WITH YOUR FEELINGS
Just simply be with them. Be in the moment of how you feel. Don’t wish that your feelings were different. Feel your feelings as they are. This is hard to explain as it is something you have to experience. But the key is to not deny your feelings even if they are really painful while also not feeding the pain more…this is why step 5 is SO important. Your negative thoughts feed them, while your ignorance of them suppresses them. You just have to let your feelings be.
Try not to control them by wishing they were different. Acknowledge your feelings, and tell yourself “it’s okay to feel like crap right now. It's okay to feel betrayed. It's okay to feel heartbroken.” And then, just observe your feelings without trying to alter them or judge them. This step might take some practice.
STEP 7: SELF-REFLECT
Now that you have a bit more clarity and you aren’t so emotionally overwhelmed, reflect on what happened and how you dealt with the situation. Try to get to the bottom of why you are feeling these painful feelings and see if you can do something differently next time. There is always room for growth and self-reflection will give you that.
Step 8: IDENTIFY HOW YOU WILL MOVE FORWARD
Processing our feelings and learning to deal with them is essential, but sometimes we have to physically do something to fully dissolve a painful emotion. Maybe you need to talk to someone about what happened or approach the person who triggered your pain to either make up or break up with them. Whatever it is, you need to get into action and get closure on this issue so that you can fully let it go.
Well, hope these tips were helpful and hopefully this new perspective on pain will help you in feeling them instead of fearing them the next time they arise.
If you want more on this perspective, here it from a clinical psychologist, spiritual teacher, and parenting expert, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who shares her wisdom on using your pain as a vehicle for growth in the video below.
It is only 17 minutes long but worth every second if you are looking for some fresh, new perspectives. I really hope you enjoy!
Well, did you love this video? Did you put your worksheet to use yet? Has your perspective on "pain" changed? I'd love to hear it in the comments section below!
If you want to learn more about Dr. Shefali and her message check out her website here.
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