A universal part of the human experience is the emotions we are able to feel. In my previous blog I wrote about physical pain and my successful journey in taming it. In this blog I will write about emotional pain – a more challenging and intriguing prospect.
Emotional pain affects us all in different ways. When it happens and the reason it happens are generally not clear at the time but become clearer over time. The saying “time heals all wounds” seems to apply amazingly well when discussing emotional hurts.
What are the causes of emotional pain? Well there can be many reasons, some of which I have listed below
You can add your own experience to this, I am sure. The way the pain affects us can vary as well. A deep horrible feeling in the pit of our stomach or an actual pain in our hearts, an anxiety attack or even a distrust to go forward are all some of the ways it can manifest. We all know that feeling and many songs, books, and movies have been made about it to great success.
So how can we heal it? In my previous blog I talked about the physical steps I took to heal my knee. I put compresses on it, I iced it, I went to see appropriate health practitioners, etc. What about emotional pain – what are the steps and how do they differ from physical pain.?
Well, although the pain is different, many of the steps are the same. Leaning in is one very effective strategy. We do not want to deny ourselves our pain. Pain is there to remind us we have some healing to do and as such we must not ignore it. If you can bear it, sit quietly and feel the pain. Look at it, really feel it and experience it. Give it space and acceptance. It is okay to experience pain when you are hurt. It is a natural reaction and if we accept that, we can let it go. If there is one thing I know with absolute certainty it is that humans hate pain and they will do anything to avoid it. And yet pain is truly one of our great teachers. To acknowledge its presence and accept it as a natural part of the healing process is a great way to move through and process what has happened. Although that is difficult and sometimes impossible to do, to heal and process it is a necessary step and will help the process move quicker and easier through your life.
I recently had a personal experience where the pain was so great I thought I couldn’t bear it. It overtook me and moved me to tears. I thought the pain would never end. It awakened all those old wounds that I thought I had put to bed but no, with this incident, they were once again ripped open, raw and painful. I wanted to blame the person who did this to me so badly, but I knew it really wasn’t about her. It was my experience. So, once I had cried enough tears I turned to look at the pain and acknowledged its presence. I resisted the “blame game” and asked myself if what I was feeling was reasonable in the circumstances. “yes” my inner child easily replied, “you have been hurt badly”. Once I had accepted that yes, I had been hurt, I could more easily see the situation in its entirety. I experienced a clarity that calmed me down and allowed me to think rather than feel. The negative voice in my head was silenced for a brief time as I processed the events that led to the betrayal and pain that had so easily stopped me in my tracks. I could respond to the ego who wanted me to be angry and revengeful. That ego was wounded and wanted me to lash out at something or someone, but I resisted. Over the next few days I moved through the emotional spectrum – anger (why did this happen to me? How dare she?), fear (Is there something wrong with me? Why does this always happen to me?), sorrow (will I ever be able to trust again?) Each emotion had to be dealt with – one at a time. Eventually within a few hours and days I had moved on and now more than a few weeks later I am able to look at the event as just another learning experience that was very painful but also very informative. I have looked at the situation from a variety of perspectives and realized that it really had nothing to do with me. As someone once said, “you can’t control what goes on outside of you only what goes on inside of you”.
Will it ever happen again? Probably. But will I process it in a different manner? Absolutely. I will regain my trust for the world much quicker and be a much stronger person within a much shorter time. Each wound is a blessing to teach me how to heal and how to grow. I am eternally grateful to be able to experience such a rainbow of emotions. And maybe just maybe next time I will easily be able to move quickly onto the next step: forgiveness.