Where there is pain, there is life…
There are so many different versions of that saying it would be hard to count them all. From song lyrics to poems, to movie dialogue and character script in books and plays. The one thing that remains consistent, is that it is true. But perhaps, not for the reason we automatically think of.
At some point in our lives, we learned to associate growth with pain. i.e.: growing pains as the simplest example. In our lives pain became something “bad” and to be avoided at any & all costs. So we stopped going to dentists and doctors to avoid the tests or treatments we needed to take care of ourselves because of the pain of the needles. We stopped putting ourselves out there authentically so we wouldn’t get hurt and feel any pain. We developed “anxiety binding mechanisms” like drinking, eating, drugging, dissociating so we couldn’t ever feel any pain or discomfort that might make it through our carefully crafted walls.
But what if we could see it differently? What if we could change our relationship to pain, to see it as a sign that we are truly alive, living our life and growing along the way? What if we could change the meaning of pain from a “bad” thing to instead be proof we are succeeding?
If we choose to have pain mean something different, our reactions and responses to it will also change. If we decide it is a sign of growth, we can also choose to feel whatever it is in those moments, so we can let it pass through us and complete its process instead of blocking it inside, which is really what we do when we try to avoid feeling it.
I know for myself when I stopped fighting it, felt the feelings I was able to process them much faster, with less effect than the constant energy and time it took to avoid it. It is hard in those moments to be sure, but the more you allow yourself to feel the emotions, the more familiar you become, the more tolerance you develop to feeling and you actually start to hurt less and are hurt by less things in general.
Allowing yourself to truly feel your emotions is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself. In the bigger picture – but also in what else you free up.
From getting back the extra time and energy you “waste” fighting to the ability to feel more emotions that are also blocked when we shut down/avoid feelings at all – that are good, positive, happy and loving and support you and the life you want to be living.
It sounds like a pretty good exchange to me, one you might consider trying – even for a few seconds. That may just be all it takes.