Unresolved emotional pain is a killer. Literally. When we fail to let go of it, we eventually get sick. Consider cancer for example. It’s a disease that eats away at us physically when what is eating away at us emotionally (guilt, shame, bitterness, anger) becomes too much to bare.
Cancer isn’t the only one. Louise Hay wrote a terrific book about the subject. In You Can Heal Your Life she lists the emotional root cause of all disease. It’s a book that needs to be in every doctor’s office.
Emotional pain occurs when:
- We witness a tragedy or experience a trauma (such as the loss of a loved one), judge it and don’t talk about it or express how it made us feel
- Someone does something inappropriate (bad) to us and we don’t forgive
- We do something inappropriate (bad) to someone else and we don’t apologize
Emotional pain results from our interpretation of an event, or more aptly put, our judgement of the event, and our inability or failure to express how we felt about it. In other words, something happens (my friend insulted me), we have an emotional response (anger … completely normal), but then we judge the experience (he did something bad … he’s a bastard) and we hold on to the emotional pain (bitterness) because we don’t say anything.
The way then to let go of emotional pain is through acceptance and expression. When we can learn to accept that sometimes ‘bad’ things happen, tragedies occur, people will say and do unkind things to us, just like we will occasionally say and do unkind things to others, then we’ve taken a great step forward. Life is full of experiences and they’re not all pleasant. Acknowledgment of this is liberation!
The next step is to express our feelings. When something happens that causes us to experience negative feelings, we need to talk about it. When someone hurts us, forgive them. I think this is perhaps the greatest mark of a person’s character … their ability to forgive. Forgiveness is not easy, but as the old axiom goes, it is a gift you give yourself. Something that helps in the forgiveness process is to remember that everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve learned. If someone has mistreated us, it’s because that’s what they’ve learned. They don’t feel good about themselves and they are not conscious of our true spiritual nature.
When we hurt someone, whether intentionally or accidentally, it is essential to say, “I’m sorry.” Like forgiveness, apologizing is a gift you give yourself. (And don’t beat yourself up over it … you are also doing the best you can!)
Another thing we can do to dissolve emotional pain is to live in the present moment. When we live in the present moment we cannot be haunted by the past, nor can we be frightened by the future. Living in the moment takes training and diligence. A simple technique is to focus on our breath. Do it often throughout the day.
Here are some other things we can do to minimize and even avoid emotional pain:
- Focus on doing your best
- Be kind
- Act with integrity
- Be honest
- Behave responsibly
- Eat healthy foods (eliminates guilt)
Experiencing emotional pain is part of the human experience. It’s unavoidable and it’s how we handle it that ultimately determines the quality of our personal experience.
Have an emotionally awesome day!