Unfortunately, I have had a lot of pain in my life. Sometimes, it was physical pain and others times it was emotional pain. I know how pain feels, sounds, looks and what it does to my ability to think.
I think every person in the world experiences pain. In fact, everything that doesn’t happen the way we expect, causes us pain, and we can separate the pain by intensity or level of importance.
Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Many people separate physical and emotional pain. I strongly believe they work the same way in our mind.
I am not a medical doctor, more of a “heart” or “mind” doctor, and I mainly work with my clients on emotional pain. In my work as a happiness coach, I take clients through a process that uses their happiness as a tool to overcome their emotional pain. I tell all of them that it does not mean they will have no pain in their lives, but we will make sure that in the competition between pain and pleasure, pleasure will win.
Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world
First, it is important to remember that pain is an emotion that is important for us. Together with happiness and satisfaction, pain functions as guide, like a compass or GPS. When we feel great, this tells us, “Keep moving in the direction you are now”. And when we feel pain, this tells us, “Recalculating … please make a u-turn at the nearest available point”.
Many people do not consider pain that way. Most consider it a form of punishment, rather than a sign. As if their own body, the universe, God or some other mighty force is punishing them for “bad behavior”. But pain is not punishment. It is an alarm.
There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength’.
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster
Dalai Lama XIV
Most people do all they can to fight pain, hide it, and make it go away, but by doing so, they only keep it for longer. Think of pain as a piece of coal in your hand. Rather than being upset that it got into your hand, it is better to focus on releasing it. Pain is not a threat. It is a message wanting to be heard. When we fight pain by ignoring it or being angry at it, we make sure it will stay until it is recognized. If you experience it fully, it will dissolve in the fastest way possible.
We all have an internal pharmacy to “cure” pain in our body. When we experience pain, the pharmacist inside our body “prescribes” medicine to overcome the pain – painkillers. This is true for both physical and emotional pain. If you have any doubts, just think of any delivery, when the mother’s body is flooded with painkillers to make sure she will survive the pain. Without this mechanism, every mother in the world would only have one child.
Some things we do disturb this natural pharmacy from functioning. They include drinking alcohol, eating too much or too little, not sleeping enough, taking drugs and even taking too much medication. We do these things to numb the pain and this stops our inner pharmacy from working properly.
Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain
Denial, lack of self-awareness, believing pain is a punishment, hiding it, blaming others for it, expecting others to “fix” it (this is very common for children, and adults who never grew up, to say, “I am in pain, do something about it!”), pessimism, negativity, depression, complaining and criticizing are only some of the emotional substances we use to overcome pain, but all they do is bring us more pain.
Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us
So what do we do?
Join me next time for 3 emotional painkillers – strategies to experience the pain and make it go away faster.