All of us experience pain at regular intervals in our lives. We often turn to food, alcohol, shopping, work, or something else to ignore the pain we feel. These temporary distractions only prevent the process that needs to happen to let it go.
The more you avoid it, the more you have to avoid it. You might eat, for example, instead of feel. Then you might get upset because you ate when you weren’t hungry. Then you might obsess about your body or your exercise routine. All of these tactics keep you from addressing the cause of the pain and multiply undesirable symptoms such as weight gain.
Eat food you’re not hungry for, feel sick, gain weight. Drink, get a buzz, get drunk, add emotional and physical hangover to pain. Buy stuff—get something pretty and pretend there is no ugly.
Yell at people around you.
Blame, hate, and rail at the universe.
Argue with the injustice of it all.
Lie about it.
Another way to deal with pain is to act it out or fight against it. You might yell at the person you believe caused your pain. You might give them the silent treatment, you might talk behind their back, or you might take even more drastic measures against them. This may help with the pain temporarily because it releases the vibration slightly, but these attempts almost always backfire.
Processing pain is really another way of saying you choose to feel it. We are so reluctant to feel pain on purpose. We tell ourselves that feeling pain is a bad thing because it feels bad, but this isn’t the truth. When we allow ourselves to feel our pain all the way through, we see that it’s manageable and it can do no long-term harm (unlike avoiding and fighting, which can have many long-term consequences).
Allow the feeling to be in your body even though you can’t make sense of it in your mind yet.
Watch and notice. Say in your mind “I am processing pain” over and over as you feel the pain.
Don’t try to fix it.
Notice any desire to react, resist, and avoid. Say the desire out loud or in your mind or write it down. Don’t act on it—just acknowledge it. Say “That won’t help” or “That’s not worth it” every time you notice the desire.
Your thoughts will begin to appear in your mind. There may be many of them. WRITE THEM DOWN as they appear. Some thoughts seem innocent but may be very painful. Thoughts like “I deserve better” might seem empowering but check the emotion they create; often, it may be one of resistance and pain. That is why it’s very important to write them down and then try them on one at a time.
Sample Thought Download – Pain of A Broken Relationship
If you repeat this process and allow it to take as long as it takes, you will notice that often, time really does make it easier. The further away you get from the situation, the more perspective you will have if you are paying attention. One day, you will notice that you can release your grip on the pain. You can allow it to go. You can stop reacting, resisting, and avoiding, and eventually you can stop processing the pain because you no longer have it.
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