Emotional Pain Diminishes As We Allow It
I believe and teach that we can choose emotions that serve us by deciding how to think about life circumstances. Some are going to feel crummy and some are going to feel great, all depending on how our thoughts shape our experience.
Yet, there are times when we just need to feel pain because that is an appropriate response. Before we can move on to new feelings we must honor the pain and allow it work its way through us. This means be willing to be uncomfortable and not find ways to escape it.
Sometimes unprocessed pain can manifest as anger, causing us to behave in ways that we later regret. Anger is also a really uncomfortable feeling so we’re driven to “get rid of it” by expressing it, yet unless we are truly acting as an emotional adult and can express ourselves calmly and logically, we’re more likely to lash out or act out towards the object causing us pain and anger.
But, if we allow ourselves to feel the underlying feeling of pain, we will ultimately move through it and arrive at inner state that can generate actions that are productive instead of destructive. The way to do this is watch and notice the feeling; say in your mind “I am processing pain” without trying to explain it or fix it. Notice any desire to react, resist and avoid. Remind yourself that pain is part of the journey of being human and that it’s okay.
As thoughts come to you during this process it will be very helpful to write them down. The more we can see our thoughts instead of just experiencing them flash through our brain, the more conscious we become. Notice how each thought either contributes to the feeling of pain or generates anger: This shouldn’t be happening to me; I deserve better than this; how dare he/she say/do this to me after all I’ve done for them; this isn’t fair; why can’t I get what I want; I want to make him pay.
Once you see the thoughts behind the pain, you might be willing to consider some new thoughts that help the pain lighten and fade. Thoughts like: Nothing has gone wrong here; I have much to learn by staying open to this; other people can be who they are; it was always going to happen this way for my highest good. These are such self-compassionate and self-loving ways to think, which is exactly what we need when we’re processing pain.