How to process pain
Pain is an interesting emotion. Not many of us know how to process pain in a healthy way. It can be a powerful motivator for change, but it can also be a reason we get stuck in life. As a motivator, we might find ourselves tired of being in the same energy, the same story over and over again. One day we decide we’ve had enough, and we get mad enough to do something about it. On the other hand, it can also keep us stuck. Why? Largely in part because our society has taught us that pain is bad. It is something to be avoided. But in our avoidance of it, we actually stay in it longer than intended. Pain is usually an indication something is out of alignment, either in our hearts, bodies, or minds. When we avoid feeling it, we don’t allow the energy to show us what is out of alignment and to naturally move through us. Staying in unnecessary pain can also rob us of our joy. To really feel deep joy, we have to allow ourselves to fully feel the pain. In avoiding any one emotion, we never allow any of them, which restricts the flow of the things we say we really want.
What i learned growing up - My dad was a huge lesson for what not to do. For many years growing up, I didn’t know just how much pain my dad was in. In hindsight, I can see that his physical pain was just an indicator of his deep emotional pain. He was in a few accidents at a young age and was disabled as far back as I can remember. He was as active as he could be, but I also see where it limited him from a lot of experiences in his life. At some point, he began drinking and never really stopped. I think the alcohol numbed him a bit, helped him to forget his story for a while and be a bit more vulnerable. It was really the only time I ever saw my dad cry, show any emotion or really engage with us kids. When he was sober, it was a lot of discipline, anger and disappointment that showed up. As an empath, I didn’t like it when he was vulnerable after having a few. It felt really unauthentic to me. I felt like I couldn’t believe it because I thought the real him was the sober asshole.
In my adult years, life gave me the opportunity to be in physical pain of my own. At the ripe old age of 20 I found out I would require a hip replacement. For about 10 years, I lived in excruciating pain. I learned just how much chronic pain can affect you. I had more compassion for him and what he must as experienced. Not only did he have the actual pain, but also the shame and guilt around not being able to fully provide for his family. I don’t know if my dad ever found anything that made him feel like him other than alcohol. And I believe many of us have a very similar experience.
As I grow in my own journey and continue to help others. I see why substances can become such an easy, convenient crutch to rely on. Many of them are socially acceptable, they numb whatever pain you are experiencing, they relax your nervous system to an extent and in some interesting way, they tap you into the truth of who you are. We all have this pure energy that is at the core of who we are. But when pain is ruling our lives, we lose contact with it. For those brief moments of release under the influence of our favorite substance, we can feel that essence for a time. But the substance is only ever going to provide a temporary reprieve which brings along with it so many other issues.
So, how do we process pain in a healthy way that also allows us to move on with life? The fastest, easiest way I have found through the pain is to simply go through it. Yep, that right. Experience it, feel it, stop fighting it and allow it to be there. This can sound really scary if you’ve never don’t it before, so I got some tips for ya.
1) Set a time limit – When you are in any lower vibration emotion or feeling, allow yourself to really feel it for a set amount of time. A friend of mine, has a three day limit. Others I know have 2 days. I’m not gonna lie y’all, sometimes because I feel so deeply, I finish mine and then I go into hermit mode and don’t want to come out. Schedule some time with friends at the end of the period. Plan something fun that requires leaving your house and peopling for a bit.
2) Talk to a counselor, therapist or healer to support you through what you are experiencing. Sitting with our emotions can bring up all kinds of other things that we may need some support around. Change is in your hands; you don’t have to live your entire life suffering from the same shit over and over again.
3) Be gentle with yourself. Eat Chinese takeout, take a bath, watch a movie marathon, go for a walk, read a book. In between crying and feeling sorry for yourself, journal about it. Listen to some meditations or healings online. Do some yoga. I think you get the picture. Do whatever you want during that pain period that doesn’t entail harming yourself or someone else.
4) Talk to your inner child. Since many of our pains are actually originated from some core childhood wound, your inner child is probably freaking out a bit during this healing phase. You can do it out loud, in a letter, in your heart. There really is no right or wrong way to do it. But I promise you, any time chatting it up with your inner mini me is going to help you in the immediate circumstance but also in your overall life. If you have a hard time allowing things to come up or you find yourself too much in the logical vibe, do some non-dominate writing. An easy way to start this is to write in your dominant hand at the top of paper, “what do you need right now”. Then allow yourself to write freely with your non-dominant hand. You may be surprised at what comes up and how easy it can be to soothe your inner child.
5) Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or your partner. Then, if none of those feel comfortable to you yet, talk to your pet. Our pets can be super attentive, mindful listeners. Poor your heart out and have no fear that fido will gossip to your sister-in-law about it. They don’t have opposable thumbs, so the phones don’t work so well for them.
6) Move your body to process the energy. This has been a powerful step for me. It can be simple and easy, like a way, some gentle yoga, or more strenuous if you’re feeling it. When you start, set the intention that you are going to release and purge the energy from your body and allow new energy to come it. Allow the tears or anger to come up without judgment. Remind yourself that you’re safe.
7) Pray. Yep, good ole simple prayer to your higher power. We all have different names for it – God, spirit, higher self, universe, Goddess, whatever. Allow it all to come out. Treat God like the best friend you’ve ever had – the one that gets you, cheers you on and gets you back on track.
8) When you find yourself nearing the end of your pain per