Processing Pain

Some say that pain of the heart is the worst kind to experience. There is no surgery, no medicine, no band-aid that will truly minimize the suffering. That dull, chronic pain feels like it is with you every where you go. It’s at the core of your thoughts, it haunts you right before you go to sleep – it feels  attached as if it is a part of you.

Most people do not process their emotional pain. In our society where we place value on the ability to move forward and move fast, we don’t take the time and effort it takes to process pain, in order to heal it. That pain remains in the body, developing deeper and deeper roots – affecting one’s way of seeing life and dealing with life. We try our very hardest to get out of a state of suffering immediately, because we associate that “bad feeling” with weakness and inefficiency. So we tranquilize our  pain, we numb it, we escape it -we do everything to avoid feeling it.

But that feeling wants and needs to be felt, and will have its way with you one way or another. Either it slowly poisons you until your soul eventually dies, or it comes out with ten times the force and trauma later on, when some future event triggers you and rips open the wound.

I’ve had to learn how to be with that uncomfortable feeling of pain and honor my feelings instead of resisting them. It’s been challenging to say the least. It feels like I’m stuck in the same place, having the same questions and inner dialogue. In those moments I feel fed up and angry with myself that I have to repeat the same episode of crying and confusion, like it’s some twisted version of Groundhog Day. Sometimes I force myself to stop the feeling and return to acting strong and capable. Sometimes, I give myself permission to just be present with what stirs up, and be gentle with myself. The former is the hardest to do. Often, I psycho-analyse the heck out of my feelings and have a hard time deciphering if it’s the situation that is stirring up the pain, or other deep-rooted childhood stuff.

I’m starting to understand and appreciate that situations, such as breakups, loss, etc – can act like catalysts. The pain felt is one part fresh from the experience and the other parts are from old wounds that were never fully healed. Painful as they may be, they are opportunities in disguise, that give you the chance to rewrite the stories we attach to past events that ultimately shape our perception of reality.  When I see suffering in such a light, I understand that it is not a state of “good” or “bad” – it just is. It is part of being alive, of being human and part of the beauty of the experience of life.

Photo credit: Simon Pais

15 Comments

  • Reply November 8, 2012

    Lorraine

    Dear Amy,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. Your spirit is beautiful and I am so grateful for your insight. You never imagine that someone can really understand what you are going through. I have never experienced such pain in my life. Breakups are the most devastating thing anyone can imagine. I am so glad that you are beginning to feel better and that you have come further away from it. No one deserves to suffer that much. It is my hope that I too can begin to find peace and happiness. After being with my partner for so many years, I feel as though my heart will never mend. The self blame and being hard on myself is still my biggest challenge. I am beginning to realize that I need to stop blaming myself for the failure of the relationship. You see, my heart remained open to try to keep us together. I felt and feel that I am no longer valued. This is also so painful to try to get past. I feel very betrayed.

  • […] and the feeling of suffering will eventually ease. However, keep in mind that if you don’t process the experience and allow the wound to truly heal, you will only endure the same suffering in some shape or form in […]

  • […] and the feeling of suffering will eventually ease. However, keep in mind that if you don’t process the experience and allow the wound to truly heal, you will only endure the same suffering in some […]

  • Reply November 1, 2013

    Stephanie

    This post has truly spoken to probably the deepest part of me that refuses to deal with that never leaving pain. I am only 17, yet I’m haunted by this throbbing pain in my heart that constantly desires attention. I have become so frustrated because I consider myself someone who isn’t dictated by pain or emotions. I was searching for a way to deal with those feelings so I could simply move on and live life to a fuller extent. Thanks to this blog I have a chance to do so. So thank you

  • Reply January 13, 2014

    Brittney Petty

    This article made me feel so much better. I now know I’m not alone in the constant repeating of angry thoughts and mulling over what happened and why. I too get extremely frustrated with myself and wonder why I can’t just get over it! I now know that it’s a process and I have to allow myself to fill the pain and filter it out of my soul. It’s a day by day process and reading your amazing articles and also speaking with influential people help to keep me on track with this painful process. Thanks so much!

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