I was asked how I deal with painful things and I decided to break the topic into two pieces. This is the first part of how to deal with emotional pain, and the second part is how to deal with physical pain.
Emotional Pain can be debilitating and make you want to curl up and shut everyone out. Emotional Pain can make you stop in your tracks and not move forward in life the way that you want. Emotional Pain can also be used as a tool for growth, and that is the route I take and am sharing with you.
It would be amazing if every day we had sunshine and rainbows. Where you felt great, people kept promises, and life just moved along gracefully. The thing is that rainbows come with the rain and it’s that emotional rain that makes everything blossom.
Here are some steps that to use when dealing with painful emotions in life:
Feel the Feelings: Don’t try and suppress or ignore the feelings. Feel the feelings in all their intensity. Let them free, release them.
Ask to Let Go: Ask yourself “Am I ready to let go of these painful feelings now?” if your immediate gut reaction is no, then ask “Am I ready to let go of these painful feelings in one minute?”. If your immediate gut reaction is no, then ask “Am I ready to let go of these painful feelings in ten minutes?” If your immediate gut reaction is no, then ask “Am I ready to let go of these painful feelings in one hour?”. If your immediate gut reaction is no, then ask “Am I ready to let go of these painful feelings in one day?”. Find the timeframe that works best for you and continue coming back to feeling the feelings and then asking if you are ready to let go until you are ready.
Decide to Feel Better: When you are ready to let go of the painful feelings, make the conscious choice that you want to feel something other than pain. Declare that you want to be open to happiness, or joy, or hopefulness. Write it down your declaration in a journal. “I am open to feeling happiness”, “I am ready for change”, “Please clearly show me the easiest path forward”, “I promise to take the steps to feel better”, “I am getting better and becoming more of who I really am in every moment”. Keep the journal or piece of paper in a place you can regularly see it as a reminder.
Create Motion: In some way, it’s absolutely essential that you create some kind of motion in your life once you declare that you want to feel something new. This can be stretching and deep breathing. This can be letting out emotions in art, even if you feel like you’ve never been “good” at art, give it a try and allow yourself the pleasure of just playing with paint, or colour, or texture, or sounds, just do it. Go for a walk, even if it’s just down the block, or if you are keen go for a run. Turn the music up and dance, even if it’s for one song. The key is to create some kind of motion to get you started in the direction of change.
Find the Good: There are always silver linings, there is always something to be learned in a life experience, there is always an opportunity for growth that is found in painful experiences, so look for it. The key here is to flip the feeling of disempowered, to feeling empowered in some way. Maybe the painful feelings helped you to learn about boundaries, or how resilient you are, or how your gut instinct is right, or that you are stronger than you’ve ever given yourself credit. Find the good and hold on so that if the painful emotions rise again, you anchor back into a more empowered approach.
Do Something for Others: By using the energy and strength you have, use it to do something good for someone else. It is a win-win because you will be helping someone who needs help and it feels great to help. Helping others gets you out of your own head and into the space of being of service to a high good, a higher purpose and connects you back into the world that needs you to be present.
- Feel the Feelings
- Ask to Let Go
- Decide to Feel Different
- Create Movement
- Find the Good
- Do Something for Others
Repeat this process as often as you need to create the new habit of transforming the painful emotions into fuel for you to find strength and to help others in the process.
There are free hotlines to call if you need to talk to someone:
Australia: Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636; Lifeline 13 11 14
USA: The Samaritans 1 (877) 870-4673 (HOPE)
UK: Samaritans 116 123