ONE WAY TO DEAL WITH PAINFUL EMOTIONS
FRIDAY 20 MARCH 2020
It’s obviously that painful emotions hurt. We as human-being are wired to run from pain. This is why many of us ignore or dismiss our emotions and try to numb the pain. We basically turn to anything that will help us get rid of our feelings. (EMOTION-RUNNERS)
But research also shows that you have highly sensitive people. These highly sensitive individuals make up 20 to 30 percent of the population. They experience things more intensely and have more difficulties learning to manage emotions, because they become so overwhelmed by them. (EMOTION-SINKERS)
And last but not least you have the ( FAST- EMOTION DEALERS). These human beings expect an emotion to disappear as quick as they handle it. resulting in lots of emotional baggage.
These approaches look contradictory, but they actually lead to the same ultimate outcome.They make the pain much more worse. In other words, when we fight the pain:judge it, try to push it away, avoid it, ignore it, it actually triggers other painful emotions. So it’s resulting in even more emotional pain. The painful truth is that, if you fail to recognize these emotions, it’s probably already influencing your present and if you don’t learn healthy ways to cope with it, it will influence your future.
One healthy coping style is ‘sitting with your emotions’. It simply means allowing your emotions. Resist the urge to get rid of the pain or judging yourself for having these emotions.
For instance, if you feel hurt because your best-friend canceled an appointment with you, but did had the time to go to dinner with her boyfriend. Don’t tell yourself:’It makes sense because he is her boyfriend so he comes first or it wasn’t around the same time we would meet. I’m being ridiculous for feeling hurt. She didn’t even mean it this way or i’d probably do the same thing. Get over it.
This is the worst coping mechanism you could use. It’s only going to make it worse, because now you feel frustrated or irritated with yourself. Even though you didn’t do anything wrong. Instead of judging yourself or fighting your feelings, sitting with your emotions would look like this:
It makes sense that I’m feeling hurt because I was looking forward to spending time with my best friend or I feel hurt that she chose him over me. And it’s okay that I feel this way.
Be honest with yourself, because you know, the truth sets free. But now you probably think, okay but the pain is still there. Yes that’s true but the first step is preventing yourself from feeling even worser. Step 2 is telling your friend how she made you feel. If that didn’t work you obviously have some unhealthy beliefs about yourself. So then it’s important to get to the root of this problem.
Ask yourself to what the emotion relates. Uncomfortable emotions stem from unhealthy beliefs, such as, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m unlovable,” or “I’m not safe.” Continue to remain quiet, breathe, and place your hands on the feeling. Specific themes, situations, or people may come to mind. Recognize and contemplate these connections. If a limiting belief has come to mind, release it. Do this by stating something like, “I am worthy” or “I am loved” or “I am safe.” Use any statement that resonates with you.
Regardless of whether we have discovered the emotion’s origin, it is now time to release it. Emotions want to be felt and acknowledged in order to be released. You have done that. Remember, no feeling is final. Often times it will rise again. But every time you practice these steps, it becomes easier to discover, process, and eliminate these powerfully persistent emotions and limiting beliefs. You learn how to feel emotions as they arise, and most important, not carry them with you to drag you down and skew your perspectives. Ultimately, you will feel lighter, freer, and happier for it.
1. Observe your emotions.
Sit with your emotions by noting what you’re experiencing without judging yourself. For instance, according to Van Dijk, in the above example, this might mean saying: “I’m feeling hurt that my friend chose to go to the concert instead of spending time with me. I’m having worry thoughts about what this means for our friendship. I’m feeling like I want to cry — my throat is tightening up. Now I’m noticing that I’m starting to judge myself because I don’t want to cry. This is uncomfortable, but I’m OK; I can tolerate this.”
2. Validate your emotions.
Validating your emotions means accepting them. Again, you don’t judge your emotions, and thereby trigger extra pain. In this piece Van Dijk shared the steps for validation. Here’s an example she frequently gives when teaching this skill:
After her client, “Joe,” says something mean in their session, she finds herself getting angry with him. If she invalidates her emotions, she’d think: “Oh my god, I’m feeling angry with Joe. What’s wrong with me? He’s my client. I’m supposed to be helping him, not feeling angry with him! What kind of therapist am I going to be if I’m getting angry with my clients?” However, this also makes her feel guilty and angry with herself for getting angry at Joe, and she feels anxious about not being a good therapist. Validating her emotions can simply mean saying, “OK, I’m feeling angry with Joe right now.” Then Van Dijk can focus on problem-solving: “
Did Joe just say something offensive or insulting to me that I need to deal with assertively? Or it’s possible that Joe said something that reminded her of someone else, triggering her “own baggage.” If that’s the case, she can sit with her emotions.
3. Focus on the present.
It’s also helpful to focus our attention on the present, instead of “wallowing” in the experience. We wallow when we fixate on the feeling, judge ourselves or judge the person or situation that triggered our feelings, Van Dijk said. We may dwell on the situation and ruminate about the details.
Van Dijk shared this example of wallowing:
“Wow, I got so angry with Joe today; it was awful. And I can’t believe he said that in the first place, the jerk. I hate feeling this way, and I hate that it’s stuck with me and ruined my day. This was the last thing I needed.”
In contrast, she shared this example of acknowledging her feelings while refocusing on the task at hand:
“OK, here come the thoughts about what happened with Joe earlier today. That anger is coming back again; I feel it like a knot in my stomach. Here’s the hurt about what he said, and I’m noticing judgments about Joe. But I’m just driving home right now, and that’s what I’m going to bring my attention to. I dealt with the situation, there’s nothing else to be done, and I’m just driving home right now.”
Sitting with our emotions can be difficult. But it’s a skill you can learn and practice. Give yourself the space to try. I hope this story was helpful for you.
Now let's meet in the next blogstory ...