How To Deal With Emotional Pain
I’m going to be honest with you; the last 6 – 12 months (2014) have not been particularly great for me. I’ve had a lot of emotional pain to deal with. In fact, I’d go far as far as saying that the last 6 years have been exceptionally tough. It’s not been all bad all of the time, but some of the events which have occurred, beyond my control, have been pretty challenging. It’s not like there’s been one or two events, there have been several, and most of them major life changing events.
I’m not telling you this to get your sympathy or to get any kind of pep talk to help me out. That’s not what I’m after or what I need. I’m telling you this as I believe there is great value and power in emotional pain.
There is a saying that the sharpest and strongest swords are forged in the hottest fires. How true is that? After all, every metal has its melting point right?
Yes, and once that metal has cooled, guess what? It is usually even stronger.
How To Deal With Emotional Pain
The biggest challenge at the time of emotional pain is remembering that it doesn’t last forever and that there is always a rainbow. It may take a year, it may take 5 years, or it may event take 15 years. No one can change those events – only you have the power to choose how you respond to them. And when you’re ready, you will rise above and go beyond them.
While you’re in the middle of storm often the only tool you have at your disposal is the option to brace yourself and ride it out. Remember; you can’t control the waves, but you can learn to surf.
The reason we experience pain in life is not because we are experiencing any kind of karma or that we are being punished for anything. The reason for pain is opportunity. In the pain you will discover the greatest blessings; the most life changing answers; the most important lessons.
Someone shared this beautiful story with me recently on WhatsApp and I wanted to share it with you here.
This story is about a beautiful, expensively dressed lady who complained to her psychiatrist that she felt that her whole life was empty, it had no meaning.
So, the lady went to visit a counsellor to seek out happiness. The counsellor called over the old lady who cleaned the office floors. The counsellor then said to the rich lady “I’m going to ask Mary here to tell you how she found happiness. All I want you to do is listen to her.”
So the old lady put down her broom and sat on a chair and told her story:
“Well, my husband died of malaria and three months later my only son was killed by a car. I had nobody… I had nothing left. After that I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I never smiled at anyone, I even thought of taking my own life.
Then one evening a little kitten followed me home from work. Somehow I felt sorry for that kitten. It was cold outside, so I decided to let the kitten in. I got it some milk, and the kitten licked the plate clean. Then it purred and rubbed against my leg and for the first time in months, I smiled.
Then I stopped to think, if helping a little kitten could make me smile, maybe doing something for people could make me happy. So the next day I baked some biscuits and took them to a neighbour who was sick in bed. Every day I tried to do something nice for someone. It made me so happy to see them happy. Today, I don’t know of anybody who sleeps and eats better than I do. I’ve found happiness, by giving it to others.”
When she heard that the rich lady cried. She had everything that money could buy, but she had lost the things which money cannot buy.
I love this story as it serves us with a very important reminder. When we focus on ourselves or our pain, it means we often we spiral and things seem even worse than they are.
When we just forget about ourselves for a short time and focus on something else or someone else that also may need some help or support, suddenly we’re given a boost by that activity.
No matter how much pain I have or have had, I will always try and help people, make them laugh, share a joke and do what I can to change my focus from me to them. I admit it has varying degrees of success, but it does make a difference, no matter how small.
If you’re experiencing any emotional pain right now, then try these things to help you weather the storm as best as possible.
- Next time you go through a period of emotional pain in your life, do your best to remember that it won’t last forever.
- Shift your focus away from yourself and focus on someone or something else every day and try and spread some joy elsewhere.
- Read a little every day. I’ve personally found that reading helps to overwrite the pain. This is because you’ll be reciting the words in your mind, rather than recycling the events in your mind that may have caused you pain.
- Don’t try and feel better and pretend that everything is okay. Acknowledge the situation and as it is and follow the steps above.
- Do your best to remember that events that cause you pain are an opportunity to grow; to become stronger and you will given time.
So over to you? Are you experiencing any emotional pain? What have you done to deal with it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with an uplifting song that came out recently that helped me through some challenging times. Enjoy!
Depending on what sort of ‘pain’ we’re facing, it will often take pain for us to actually get out there and make a difference, in whatever way possible.
For me, although I haven’t had much pain through physical illness, I have faced the pain of rejection, not having a single friend and the prospects of a very bleak future. It is in these moments I say to myself ‘Enough! Time to get out of the comfort zone and make change happen.’ This gives you a massive opportunity to learn and grow.
There have been times when I have been deeply miserable about my ‘lack of’ social life. How do I get the friends I want? The only way to get out of this ‘pain’ is to go out of your comfort zone in some way, either by approaching people, going to events or coaching you would not otherwise have taken up, or being pro-active and organising things. You learn so much by doing this stuff, but often without the initial pain, if everything we wanted was handed to us on a plate – we would not know half of it. And for me, once I have fought my way through hard times, I want to help others in the same situation do the same.
My apologies for not replying sooner.
Well said and I couldn’t agree more – so often I go and do things alone for the first time rather than waiting for people to be available too. Some people fear the loneliness of doing things alone but I quite enjoy that prospect.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and you’re always welcome here to comment.
I agree with you that acknowledging the pain is so important. Invalidating oneself can be so painful. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone. I am sorry that the past six years have been really tough, but it is good that you are getting some perspective. It is so true that helping others can bring a person immense pleasure : D.
Hey Michael 😉
Well, most definitely and as time goes by the perspective on that pain changes and makes it much easy to use for gain.
Thanks again for your comments,
This is very true especially when faced with uncertainty, and not knowing the direction or the path to take has been especially hard for me. Also, trusting that it will all work out in the end helps me to keep telling myself that as constant reassurance.
It’s lovely to hear from you – it’s been quite some time. I can totally understand – it’s never an easy process, or task to remember this information during the pain, but that’s where good friends or tools like this blog can come in handy, to serve as that reminder that ultimately, what may be going on right now, ultimately will be of benefit to you.