Denial, rationalizations, and addictions are some ways in which painful feelings are avoided. These Defense Mechanisms may work temporarily; however, just like sweeping things underneath the carpet, eventually you will trip and have to face them. I believe that God uses our pain as opportunities for healing and growth. We would not know what needs to be fixed if we did not feel the pain of it (like a broken arm). Pain catches our attention. Part of our human experience is that we will have pain; how we move through it and learn from it can lead to our victory.
The experience of pain can be difficult and scary. Some may feel if they allowed themselves to feel their pain, they will not recover. Some have experienced so much pain over along period of time and opt to no longer feel. In order for you to function appropriately with your hidden pain, you must bring it to the surface and face it. Here are some steps that you may take to help this process. I suggest that you take some quiet time and get paper or a journal and write.
- Choose to feel (Of course I am going to start with the choice…this is however iCHOOSEtothrive.com.) and not avoid. Give yourself permission acknowledge and feel your pain and still be ok.
- Pray. Here is an example: “Lord, I am about to do something that is difficult for me. I pray for peace, wisdom, and a perspective for the pain. Help me to see my opportunity for growth in this pain and I pray for healing.”
- Identify the pain that you are experiencing: sadness, grief, frustration, hurt, anger, or even indifference/numb.
- Try to identify events that correspond with the pain; where did it come from.
- Look at how the events and pain has affected you and limited you in different areas of your life. Allow yourself to grieve.
- Consider a trained professional to help you navigate through this process if this process is too difficult.
- Work on forgiveness of your self and others. Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves for how we treat ourselves with our pain. Negative self-talk and self-destructive behaviors are ways in which we mistreat ourselves. Feel free to see my article on Forgiveness (sorry no link, I am a therapist not an I.T. gal. The moment I learn that skill, I will come back and make the word “forgiveness” be the actual link–for now, enjoy the pink).
Live well, love and share.