Handling emotional pain
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Handling emotional pain

We generally don’t like emotional pain (such as sadness, grief, separation, abandonment, or any other unpleasant feeling) and would go a long way to avoid it.

Yet pain is a natural aspect of life and without experiencing pain we would not be able to relate to other people’s suffering. We would not grow as fast as we do when we experience emotional pain. Pain also helps us to cultivate gratitude for the moments in life when we are happy and content. Without the occasional experience of pain these moments would not be very special. For example, without the experience of separation and loss we wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy and be grateful for togetherness and intimacy.

The yogis believe that pain is just another emotion and it feels unpleasant only because we are judging what is happening in our life as negative. If we had no judgment about a situation or a person, we would only experience it as a part of the colourful spectrum of what life can bring. If we could see our own life as a movie, if we could detach and watch it unattached from time to time, we would want to add a bit of pain here and there as spice and excitement to the movie called our life.

The more we focus on avoiding emotional pain, the more it has us captured as prisoners.

It seems contradictory, but when facing the pain and staying with it for a while it diminishes. It becomes less scary and loses its power over you. You cannot outrun pain or hide from it so why not acknowledge it and by doing this, release it?

When you feel pain it is an indication that some area of your life is not working; some belief, thought, or emotion is crying out to be seen, loved and healed.

Don’t make yourself wrong or think of yourself as a bad person, but see it as an opportunity to examine, experience and heal that area of your life.

We all have moments and days that are filled with pain, sadness or despair. Yet the emotional ability to endure a sad day is one of the keys to a happier life. Enduring doesn’t mean cultivating the emotion in a victimising way. Enduring means acknowledging it, feeling it, and staying with it long enough to get the message the current pain is sending us, understanding it and then releasing it. This process can take moments, hours or days.

It is necessary to go through this process as ignoring the pain and putting it aside or masking it just stores the emotion which will then come up to the surface another time, this time combined with all the other stored and unreleased emotions.

Acknowledging your emotional nature, for example, the fact that you are really sensitive and emotional and you never or rarely allow yourself to feel this because you think it makes you weak or pathetic puts you on a healing path. It takes time to be comfortable with all your emotions. Going back through these emotions and allowing them to take place requires effort and determination.

There is a fine line between feeling emotions profoundly and then moving on, and wallowing in unwanted emotions for ages and blaming oneself and/or others for hurtful moments.

Here we need to use our mind and put thought control to use!

Exercise

If there is a situation in your life right now that is causing you pain or hurt, if you feel angry at another or they are angry with you, write it down. Sit quietly, and breath deeply; relax your body and imagine you are rising to a higher, lighter and more peaceful level.

Ask to be shown what you have learnt from this situation. Write the answers down (anything that comes to your mind without censoring or judging it.

Imagine that the next time you are in the same situation, or with the person who causes you pain, it will be the last time you will ever experience this or see that person. Perhaps it is his or her last day on Earth. Imagine that you are the most secure, loving, compassionate and wise person you know. What would you say to him or her that would heal the situation? What else is needed for the situation to heal?

Author: Emilie Janda

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