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Monday, January 26, 2015

Holding Pain in Your Hands


Sometimes people think - when you talk to them about positive thinking and choosing your thoughts, and focusing on the good as opposed to the bad, and so on - that it means never feeling pain, or that it means artificially removing pain from your life. Not so.

Pain is a bit like grief and needs to be lived through and time is perhaps one of its prime elements. But what these ways of dealing with pain do mean is that you choose how to think about the pain, and you choose how to react to the pain, and how you choose to deal with your feelings that this pain involves (which is another way of saying how you choose to think about the pain), and you choose how to live your life during the period of time that this pain forms part of your life.

So choosing a distraction such as a substance, or working at all hours, or frantic socializing or shopping, etc., is certainly not the answer. Pain, as said, needs to be lived through.

Holding your pain in your hands and honoring your feelings is one way. The key word is honoring. You don't yet know if this pain has a purpose or not. And perhaps it does not. Perhaps it's simply random fate that you are living through this pain. But, you may find - years hence - that in hindsight it served a very important purpose in your life's plan, but just now you're not there yet, because all you can feel is the pain.

If you have practiced mindfulness as I so often encourage you to do in these posts, then you may already have a measure of the necessary tools in your kit to set you on your path to be able to hold the pain so that you are able to carry on with a modicum of peace in your life despite the pain. Mindfulness allows you to choose how to think about the pain, and there is a great difference between thinking, for example Oh my God, how will I ever get through this? It's so painful; it hurts so much; I can't bear it; what will I ever do?, to thinking, for example: I don't know how to bear it, so I'm going to find a way to feel a bit better right now, just for a moment or two. I'm going to care for myself due to this pain, as if I were my own child, to give myself a small respite - just for a moment - and I'm going to try to get through just today, in order to be able to carry on. I believe I'll grow from this although i have no idea how just yet, but as I hold the pain inside of me and feel it, I'll care for myself just now, just for this moment.

Both ways of thinking revolve around the pain, but in one of the ways, you choose how to think about the pain, and react to the pain, and you choose how to live your life during this period.

The important part of making that second choice is that it takes away that feeling of insurmountable impotence with which pain can often burden us. By choosing how to think, react, and live, despite the pain, you have a say in the matter, so to speak. Nothing about living your pain in this manner trivializes the pain, but it does make you a participant in how you deal with it.Therein lies part of the cure. Therein lie occasional moments of peace.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


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