Nobody likes pain. We don’t like physical pain and we don’t like emotional pain. When we feel it, we want it to stop, and we’ll sometimes go to great measures to do so.
But pain is not all bad. Sometimes when I’m in pain, I have to tell myself “this hurts, but it will not kill me. I am not going to die.” This helps me not to panic, and it might be helpful to tell yourself that too.
Let’s talk about physical pain for a moment and then make some comparisons to emotional pain. The following is taken from this website, which is about how pain works, and how our mental state affects how we feel pain and how we heal. Read on, and don’t worry if there are parts you don’t understand. The most important part is the last sentence:
“Pain can be defined as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional (conscious) experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.’ Although unpleasant, experiencing pain is important for a variety of reasons: in the first instance it acts as a warning of harm, but it will also give rise to a number of physiological responses. The best known of these is axon flare (activated through the axon reflex), which causes vasodilation, reddening and increased sensitivity of the skin surrounding an injured area (triple response). This immediate physical response to injury and pain is important in initiating the processes necessary for repair.”
So without pain, your body would not know it’s hurt and would not start the physical responses that we know as “healing.” Pain has an important part in our healing process. Where you’re hurting is where you’re healing.
Think about this with respect to emotional pain now. If you are hurting from a particular situation, for example, a broken relationship, you also have the most potential for healing in the areas of relationships at that time. If you never hurt — if you were a heartless, nasty person — you have no capacity for healing or growth. Once you are over the pain, the potential for healing and growth in this area decreases. This makes sense if you think about it; when you have healed emotionally from a situation and you are back to your normal routine, you aren’t as inclined to grow. You’re cruising along on the growth you have already accomplished, and that’s a good and necessary stage to go through too!
So, what area are you hurting in? If you did some journaling, do you think you might realize exactly what areas you are growing in? Can you imagine what you would look like having healed from this particular hurt? Spend some time in thick self-appreciation imagining yourself “all healed up” and know that this is the road you are on.