Remember that painful event you conjured up earlier?
We’re going to use it now.
What made that time in your life so painful?
Why that event and not another?
What are the primary painful emotions you’re feeling?
The first step in addressing pain is seeing it for what it is–mere facts you tell yourself.
Now, I don’t mean to make light of a serious event in your life.
What I’m trying to point out is that each of us is responsible for making meaning in what has happened to us.
If we can interpret events in one way, we can certainly interpret them in a totally different way.
Now consider this: Is it possible, just possible, that you could be wrong about an aspect of your emotional pain?
For me, when I started to deal with and confront my feelings of intense shame, of feeling that I was broken and not good enough, I started to see the truth.
But it took me facing the pain.
I couldn’t run from it.
It is only when you name and claim your pain that you can begin to own the story and reframe the narrative.
It took some time, but the more I was able to talk about my shame with others, the more I took control of the storyline.
The more I wrote about my shame, the more I saw it as one thread in the tapestry.
One, lonely thread laid out in front of me.
I even began to feel sort of bad for the story I had been telling myself.
Because no person is ever just one thing, and I started to pull in other threads the more I faced up to my emotional pain.
I found threads that were vibrant and caring. I pulled in threads that were shiny and resilient. I started to think about the vast amount of good things that I had in my life in comparison to the bad things my brain was falsely trying to shove in front of me.
And I did this by agreeing to meet the pain head-on.
I’m not saying to blindly accept the bad things that have happened to you.
What I’m saying is that you get to choose how you look at your pain.
You do not need to believe what your brain first tells you.
Emotional pain can be devastating because of how it tries to trick you that it is you.
But it’s not.
It’s just a shield, a layer, a piece of fabric draped over your eyes.
As long as you remember that there is a human being behind that blinding layer, you will be just fine.
Your pain happens to you–it’s not who you are.
If you agree to meet it, you’re halfway there.
Because once you engage with it from the vast and resounding depths of who you are, emotional pain doesn’t stand a chance.