Are you heartbroken, confused, scared, depressed or overwhelmed? Maybe you have moments of peace throughout the day, but then it hits you – that wrenching pit in your stomach or the deep sinking feeling in your chest. Maybe you’ve even reached the point where eating and sleeping is a challenge.
Maybe you are dealing with a tough relationship challenge. Did you have your heart handed to you on a platter? Did someone you trust and depend on emotionally blind-side you?
Or how about work? You know… the job you depend on and cling to that pays all the bills that keeps that mortgage paid and food on the table. Is there reoccurring stress about your job? Do you have a deep down feeling that you should be doing something else?
Maybe things are going OK in most areas of your life, but there is an empty feeling inside that something is missing.
If you are like most people, when you experience hard-hitting emotional pain, when you have lost control over your immediate fate, you react in one of several ways:
ESCAPE – When it comes to Fight or Flight, you choose flight. But flight literally is not always practical. We can’t all just grab our back-packs, grow beards and walk the earth. So we escape more elusively: We create a fun-filled carnival in our heads with TV, social media, alcohol, drugs or other mind-numbing activities.
Our culture has a cornucopia of escape methods to choose from. So escape is probably the most common tactic. When the pain shows up, we jump on Facebook or the racy dating site, watch so much TV our couch becomes a large appendage. We party with friends and drown our sorrows at a bar with toxic people. Maybe you allow your doctor to medicate you as an attempt to numb yourself of emotion?
IGNORE IT – Sometimes the best way to try to avoid pain is to deny that it exists. It’s like hiding that bill that you need to pay in a drawer somewhere. You know you are suffering, but you don’t admit it to yourself. Your parents may have told you "Ignore your little brother or that bully at school and like magic, they will go away." They were wrong, weren’t they?
PROJECT IT – When you are suffering deep down inside, it’s easy project your pain on others. Maybe it’s your kids, maybe a friend or even an innocent co-worker. Besides the fact it’s a big-jerk thing to do, innocent people get used as human punching bags when we do this.
Sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it. It could be as subtle as minor sarcasm or acting distant. It could be as extreme as yelling or trying to sabotage someone else’s life. People do these things all the time. Misery loves company!
Unfortunately, none of these approaches really work. In fact, they usually make your life worse. You don’t want to make it worse do you? Aren’t you already down in the dumps enough?
When you try to avoid the pain, it creates greater pain – Jennifer Aniston
Sometimes suffering is a part of life. It can be a natural reaction when we lose a loved one. We feel pain and we go through the grieving process. Then we heal over time. Maybe some form of sadness exists, but we don’t remain in absolute misery.
But Most Of The Time SUFERING IS OPTIONAL
Most emotional pain people experience is not necessary. It results from a lack of self-awareness and from an unwillingness to adapt to life.
In fact, if you are suffering enough in one area of your life and do nothing about it, it will "bleed" over to other areas of your life. When your romantic relationship is a mess, eventually you’re going to "bring that stuff to work," as they say.
When work is a war-zone, that dark mushroom cloud of misery is going to follow you home – to your kids, your spouse and your friends. And this is 100% true for most of us.
Run and hide from emotional pain and things will explode. Suppression is never a permanent solution. A common example is a family member who hates their job. They feel pain all day at work and do everything they can to stuff it down. When they come home at night, the most minor issue triggers that pain and they attack other family members who are innocent.
Most of us have had a family member or friend lash out at us for no apparent reason. Buildup of emotional pain is often the culprit of these experiences.
A Better Way Of Seeing And Dealing With Emotional Pain
What happens if you put your hand into a flame, such as on a candle? You feel pain. And if you leave your hand there long enough, you get burned.
In this example with the candle flame, pain is life’s way of telling us to do something different. It’s a way of warning us and encourage us to take a different action.
So what if you applied this to emotional pain? Again, when most people experience emotional pain, they try to escape from it, deny it or they take it out on others. What if instead, when you experience pain, you view it as a signal?
Maybe, just maybe, the pain is there to tell us something. Maybe it’s telling us that something needs to change. It’s a sign, an alert, an indicator.
Many people view emotional pain as a cruel punishment inflicted on us by life, the universe, God, or whatever else you want to call it. What if the pain is really a gift? It’s a sign in the road telling us to take a different direction.
As we view pain and suffering in this way, we become empowered rather than just being a miserable victim. Emotional pain becomes a built in guidance system which alerts us of when we need to make a change.
So If Pain Is Telling Me To Do Something Different, What Exactly Should I Do?
So you know your pain is telling you that something needs to change, but what exact change should you take? While there is no cookie-cutter answer for this, here are three suggestions which will apply for most people in most situations:
Make A Mental/Emotional Change – Change your perspective – the way you are viewing the situation. Sometimes no change needs to occur on the physical level, just in your mind or in your heart. Sometimes there is simply nothing you can do on the physical level, like when a final romantic breakup happens in your life.
Sometimes finding a different way of looking at a situation will help you to get rid of the pain in your life. You may be able accomplish this without help, but this may be difficult or impossible to do on your own. You may need to learn to break destructive patterns that keep you suffering emotionally and mentally.
Many people have achieved this "freedom from suffering" through our personal growth course, the Life Mastery Program.
Make A Change In The Physical Reality – Sometimes the only way to really stop emotional pain is to change something on the physical level of your life. This could be removing yourself from a hopeless and painful romantic relationship. It could be taking the obvious step to get a new job or starting your own business. Sometimes a physical change is the only solution.
Get More Information – Maybe you are in pain and you are willing to take action, but you don’t know what direction to go in. Before you make any major changes (mentally, emotionally or physically), it may be necessary for you to gather more information. This could involve having a conversation with the other people involved. This could involve doing some type of research to get more information about the different choices in front of you.
Many people take advantage of my Intuitive Counseling service for this very reason. Using intuitive abilities, I am able to focus on a situation and help you "fill in the blanks" so you can make a more informed decision. Because of my training and experiences, I am able to do this without knowing anything about the details of your challenge. Maybe it’s about helping you to see the true feelings and motivations of someone in your life. Maybe it’s helping you to see the pros and cons of a business you want to start.
An Intuitive Counseling session can also help you identify what your pain is telling you specifically and what exact steps you can take to make a complete turnaround in your life and make it last.
Regardless of what approach you take, I encourage you to listen to your pain. Take a step back and pay attention to what it is trying to tell you. Do you simply need to make an attitude adjustment within yourself? Do you need to make a major change in your life? Do you need to find out more about what is happening before you take serious action?
Listen To Your Pain And Take Action, Or Else…
Just like with that burning candle. Most of us, when we get too close and feel the burn, we pull away. The pain is saying "If you don’t pull that hand away you will burn your hand, experience unspeakable pain and lose the use of your hand forever."
Emotional pain works the same way. The pain in your chest, in your gut. Listen to it. It’s guiding you to make a serious change. Pay attention. Don’t ignore it. That pain is a gift.
For many of us, our guts tell us when someone has bad intentions or when someone we know and trust is lying or misleading us.
So Remember – As a general rule, pain is there to tell us that something is not right and needs to change.
I am absolutely amazed when I encounter a client who has suffered unnecessarily for many years. Oftentimes, all that was needed from me was a simple explanation or a little guidance towards the next step to take. Then, the emotional pain is gone. There is clarity, confidence and peace.
Pay Attention: Don’t let yourself be “that person” who lets emotional pain linger, sucking you dry of your energy and happiness. Embrace the pain you’re experiencing and take action today. Whatever it is that you need to do, take a step towards creating the happiness, intimacy, and success you deserve.