Pain Is Compulsory, Suffering Is Optional – How To Handle Difficult Emotions

According to the research of neuroscientist Dr. Joe Dispenza, by the age of 35 our brain operates 95% on autopilot. It has collected enough information to react to the life events through the filter of previous experiences. That means that we don’t get to choose how we respond to situations, we react in a way that our brain thinks is the safest based on the past. Our brains main function is to keep us safe! The only problem with that is, that most of the time we react through the experience of a young child. Reacting that way may have been logical or useful at that age but that same behaviour or emotion might not be appropriate for an adult. Pain does not come from the present event, emotions get triggered from past experiences, when a similar event occurs for the first time. There is a story attached to that original event that caused you to develop a belief about yourself.

You will be even more surprised to learn that majority of those automatic responses and beliefs we accumulate between ages 2 and 8 and then we forget…

Yoga in Nature

Psychologists say that depending on the exact developmental stage when the trauma occurred, we will be more likely to react/struggle with a certain emotion. Holistic Kinesiology and Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at it from a perspective of five elements or constitutions – a set of qualities and behaviours grouped into a pattern. Even though unpleasant in nature and capable of causing distress to any person, those painful emotions turn into suffering when coupled with a belief about yourself. You will then use the learnt coping strategy from the past that will most likely lock the pain in. And now you are stuck in the suffering cycle.

Let’s have a look at a few challenging emotions and what to do to break the cycle, heal and release.

Hurt

People feel hurt for many reasons – being betrayed, heart broken, overexposed, ashamed, used, being shut down etc. Very often it comes down to feeling unloved. ‘If only they loved me enough they will never… fill the blank). If a child did not feel loved enough by their caretaker (or perceived so) he/she will inevitably decide that this is because they are not loveable.

As a coping strategy they will tend to shut down or close down their heart. Disconnecting from the hurt, they will also disconnect from all the feelings like joy, happiness and spontaneity. They will limit their self-expression and ultimately lose who they are. That disconnection from self and lack of self-expression locks the hurt in turning it into suffering.

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Solution

The key is the ability to open the heart and freely express themselves. To be able to do this they need to come to terms with vulnerability, releasing vulnerability is not a weakness but necessary for openness. As they open their heart the hurt that has been locked in will dissipate and they will begin to be more spontaneous, joyful and empowered to express themselves.

Fear of Failure / Rejection

High achievers and perfectionists will suffer from these emotions a lot. Anyone who is worried about other people’s expectations to avoid failing or rejection will have a rooted feeling from childhood of not being enough. They will then be sensitive to criticism and try to avoid it by being perfect. Then they make it worse by becoming their own worst judges. Inevitably this leads to disappointment and self-criticism when things don’t go perfectly. The outcome is a sense of failure and a perception that they are not good enough any way. You can see how easy it is to get stuck in this cycle, where suffering is now coming not from others but from ourselves.

Solution

To break the cycle of suffering they have to accept themselves just as they are, stop putting so much emphasis on ‘doing & improving’ and connect to who they are without ‘the performance’. They need to let go of expectations from within to stop worrying about expectations from others. That will set them free.

Feeling Unworthy / Not Deserving

Oh, that’s a big one! It always manifests itself in seeking validation from the outside world. What they really crave is connection. However, because they don’t believe that their real self has value, they will put on a mask of whatever they think others might value. The main problem with that is while they are looking externally, they get more and more disconnected from themselves, their spirit and their soul – the true source of worthiness. They might feel alienated, separate, different. It might create sadness and even grief. On a physical level people might feel empty in their body and will try to fill it up in many different ways.

On one hand, it is totally healthy to feel more competent by gaining degrees, growing in your career and improving personally. It becomes a big problem when it is the only source of value! Take it away and people feel like they are nothing. Then seeking validation is no longer a choice but almost a survival pattern. As children we perceive ‘not having value’ for our caregivers as ‘we might not make it’.

In classic psychology, the true sense of internal value is supposed to come from our father. However, quite often our parents unaware that they condition a child to connect value to external qualities or behaviour. ‘I love you when you look beautiful’. ‘I am not going to talk to you unless you behave the certain way’. ‘Why can’t you be like your brother?’ Sounds innocent but all applies value under condition.

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Solution

Our sense of value comes when our mind is still and we connect to the beauty around us. In this state where we feel part of something bigger than our self, we have a reverence for all of life, including our self. By recognising and connecting to the implicit value of all of creation we recognise and value our implicit self.This includes revering our physical body and all that comes with living a human mundane life. In essence our conscious drops into our body and we live a more grounded open hearted life.

EXERCISE

When you experience difficult emotions, take yourself through the following process:

  1. Identify the exact emotion, find the time you experienced it for the first time. How did you feel about yourself back then? Do you see it manifesting in different situations? If you didn’t have that belief about yourself, would it be easier to let that emotion go?
  2. Identify your coping strategy – most likely it’s counterproductive. Be aware and try different response next time vs familiar reaction.
  3. Still your mind, drop into your body and feel how does it respond physically to the emotion? Breathe through it.

We spend lots of time, energy and financial resources to learn a new profession or skill, to advance in a hobby, or to train in a sport. But we don’t spend enough time to learn about ourselves, raising self awareness and mastering your emotional intelligence. When you do that, life will still throw challenges at you but you will have much better skills to deal with that and feel happy and content regardless.

Meet Natalia

Natalia uses Holistic Kinesiology to guide people through self discovery and teach them empowering tools to have a choice of how to feel in any given situation. If you are interested to learn more about yourself book an appointment with our friendly staff. Click here to book an appointment with Natalia or call 0420 644 852.

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