Emotional pain and hurt will show up in many areas of your life.
The suggestions below will help you when faced with pain and hurt.
All take you into your pain and discomfort, and help you develop comfort in your own skin.
The payoff is this: Your emotional pain will no longer be fertile soil for your anger. These suggestions will help you choose to open up to and embrace these painful experiences when they show up and learn to bring compassion and forgiveness to them.
Facing Your Fear
Start by making contact with the dangerous or painful thing you are afraid of. What is the nightmare or worst-case scenario? Notice the bodily sensations that accompany these thoughts.
Be specific. You may fear being exposed as incompetent or being embarrassed, humiliated, criticized, or devalued. Or perhaps you fear the emotion of fear itself. [Fear: Main Cause of Anger]
The problem here is not the emotion, but what you do about it and how that action gets in the way of doing things you value.
Adopt an observer perspective and watch your fear-related thoughts, worries, bodily sensations, and images. Don’t try to resolve or fix them. Simply watch as you’ve been practicing.
Start by asking yourself this question: “When I started feeling guilty, what is the rule I violated for how I am supposed to be or act?”
You may have one rule that emerges again and again (such as, I must never miss an appointment or fail to follow through with what I said I would do); or there may be other rules that get in the way of you moving in the direction of your values.
As you contact these rules, notice the hard and rigid quality of each of them, the feeling that breaking them is bad. Also notice how each rule stands in the way of something that’s important to you.
Now examine the rule for what it is. Does this rule come from your own experience? Is the rule life affirming? Has it worked for you? Is this rule getting in the way of something you cherish and hold dear?
Within cultural boundaries, you need to decide whether following the rule is more important than what you value in this situation. Are you willing to let the rule go if that means doing what is important to you? If so, then let go and get going.
The active task of facing hurt is to acknowledge it openly, directly, and honestly, without blame or accusation.
Focus on what hurts and how that hurt is getting in the way of aspects of your life that are important to you. Focus on communicating the feelings of hurt directly to yourself and others who may have brought these feelings on.
For instance, you might say “I feel hurt when you joke about my cooking.” Don’t look for apologies to resolve your hurt. Simply acknowledge it, bring compassion to it, and let it go with the gift of forgiveness.
You will need to practice this repeatedly and over time, you will get better at facing your hurt with compassion.
Many things in life occur outside of our control. It’s essential that you detect the difference between what you can and can’t control. As learned earlier, trying to meet uncontrollable circumstances with control only gets you frustration, anger, and a sense of helplessness.
Feelings of helplessness redirect our attention from what we can control to what we cannot control. Acknowledge feeling stuck. Focus on what you can control to have your needs met and to keep you moving forward in directions you care about.
These are both things you can control and do something about. Be specific. Write down a plan that keeps you moving forward, even in the face of adversity.
Feelings of Emptiness and Loneliness
Most people will go to great lengths to block feelings of emptiness and loneliness from their awareness. It’s important to separate blame from the pain. You need to experience your own loneliness directly without linking it to the faults and failings of others.
To encourage the feeling and to develop comfort with it, you could take a brief walk in a quiet place, sit alone for ten minutes with the TV and radio off, or resist the impulse to call someone to fill the void, and instead notice what it’s like to postpone contact for ten minutes or so.
These little exercises will make you aware of your loneliness and may generate a sense of calm and inner peace.
The most important element of these exercises is to notice and embrace what it feels like to be alone with yourself instead of running away from emptiness and loneliness and filling these voids with anger and blame.