Pain can be overwhelming and that includes emotional pain. How do I deal with pain?
Feel free to use the following steps that I personally use:
1. Feel it
To me, this is the first and maybe most important step in the process. I give myself permission to feel the pain, to really feel it. I let it run through my body and be for as long as it needs to until it is no more. I often explain this step by comparing it to laughter. Whenever one laughs, laughter takes over. It can hardly be contained and trying to quench it usually results in it growing stronger. I believe the same thing happens with all emotions. If I try to ignore or control the pain, it will come back at me with a passion. That’s why I always give myself the time (and space) to feel the pain until it exhausts itself.
2. Define it
Ok, the pain is exhausted but threatening to come back. What remains is the thinking it over; that persistent little voice that keeps on repeating the story of whatever it is that happened to cause the pain in me in the first place. And this thinking process is a real threat. If I allow myself to be carried away by it, I might feel a new wave of pain altogether. By listening to that little voice, I run the risk of revisiting the whole incident once more, thus provoking the same feelings that I’m trying to deal with. It is therefore imperative that I handle the voice in my head the right way.
The first thing I need to do is identify and define what it is that I’m really feeling and put a name to it. Am I feeling sad, upset, disappointed, hopeless, neglected, guilty, desperate, scared, annoyed, embarrassed, worried…? I try to be very precise because knowing what it is that I’m feeling will help me find the real cause for it.
3. Question the underlying belief
Feelings are produced by my own expectations, I already know that much. They’re not due to whatever it is that others do but a result of my own beliefs. Whenever something happens, I interpret it based on my life experiences, beliefs and worldview. I tell myself… ‘ok, so this is what I’m truly feeling (add the term defined under step 2). How did I come to the conclusion that this is what this whole situation really means? What is it that I believe, then, that is making me interpret this situation in such a painful way?’
Having identified the underlying belief, I then ask myself… ‘ Is this belief empowering or limiting me? Do I really want to continue believing it?’ If I decide I do for whatever reason, I keep it, fully aware that this type of interpretation might result in further pain in the future. If I don’t, I look for a better belief to replace the one I just realized I don’t want anymore.
4. Accept the lesson
I learned a lot from this little exercise. I now understand myself so much better! I know what it is that really caused the pain in me to begin with, and which beliefs I had (or still have) and why. I’m ready now to accept the lesson and move on with my life.
5. Let it go
I have no pain left in me. It was exhausted, understood and accepted. I let it go now because it fulfilled its teaching role. It helped me grow and learn. I thank it for having helped me.
Once I complete step 5, the pain is no more.
These are my 5 steps to dealing with pain. I hope they help you, too.
Enjoy life… ALL of it.