When it comes to our pain, our usual and customary response is to want to reject it, remove it from ourselves, and feel it as little as possible. Our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are often the responses we have to our pain when we haven’t learned healthy strategies for coping with it. Similarly, our addictions are our attempts to escape our pain because we haven’t found ways to confront it and face it without allowing it to derail our lives. What if, instead of our unhealthy responses to our pain and our attempts to escape it, we chose to embrace our pain?
Pain is an incredible teacher, and within it we can find invaluable tools for learning, growth and expansion. When embraced in healthy ways, our pain can elevate our consciousness and grow our awareness. Because pain is something we’ve been conditioned to want to avoid, changing our approach to it requires mindfulness.
When something is causing us pain, our instincts are to want to get rid of it. We want to banish it so that we don’t have to feel it, but this doesn’t relieve, remove or heal our pain. Instead, let’s mindfully open ourselves to it and say, “I am feeling pain in this moment.” Let’s pay attention to how it feels in our bodies, to the physical sensations it brings along with it, and to the kinds of thoughts we’re having. As we consciously bring our awareness to our pain, we are turning towards it rather than away from it. We are having acceptance rather than resistance, which can actually amplify it, an unwanted consequence of trying to avoid, fight or escape our pain. When we accept our pain, we take away its power over us. We’re no longer victims to it. We’re acknowledging and allowing it, which helps it to follow its natural cycle of ebbing and flowing. It helps it to dissipate and wane naturally on its own. When we try to reject our pain, we allow it to control us. We’re letting our fear of feeling it dominate.
Pain is a natural and unavoidable part of life. When we embrace it, we open ourselves to all of the healing wisdom that lies within it. Embracing our pain doesn’t mean we revel in it, wallow in it, or stay stuck in it. It means we accept its presence, we allow it, and we openly embrace whatever it has to teach us.
Learning healthy ways to cope with our pain is an important part of recovery. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information on how we can help.