“We must not numb our pain.
When in sorrow, sorrow.
When in anger, anger.
It’s the only way to go through it.” Paul said to me, as we were discussing the problem of alcoholism in Finland.
His main language is Finnish. So when he speaks in English, it’s very simple. But I get it. And I love it. It comes out sounding like a poem.
Paul is saying we must go through the process of whatever it is we’re feeling. So when we’re in sorrow, then allow ourselves to be in sorrow.
Having spent many years working in a rehab for alcoholics in Helsinki, he’s seen how desperately people try to numb their pain, instead of dealing with the root of that pain. In the end, the only thing they create is a bigger mess, ruining their own lives and the lives of their loved ones.
…I feel like I can relate to them.
For over a decade, I’ve tried to numb my pain through many ways.
It has led to many addictions that can be a whole blog post by itself.
The past one year and a half, I’ve been learning that there are better, healthier and more effective ways to deal with pain. Today, I’m just going to focus on one: Giving yourself permission to feel what you feel.
I’ve been having a hard time processing my feelings the last couple of days / weeks / months. Here I am, learning about love and sharing what I learn on The Love Culture. But I am highly aware, too, that these whole other spectrum of “dark” emotions are well and alive and brewing in me.
They’re not there all the time. At least not on the surface. But when it’s triggered, the rawness of the pain and the way I crumble, surprises me.
Seeing the way that I am when I’m in pain–and being made aware that I’m not much different from the person causing me pain when I’m hurt–just left me feeling absolutely lost in my own darkness.
And then someone comes my way today, to remind me of my goodness and help me see the Light, within and without. I feel loved, supported and cared for. And it’s bringing me release. Which got me wondering…
Could this be the reason why we hold on to our hurt?
Is it a cry to be loved?
I believe the answer is, Yes.
This question and answer have, in the past, allowed me to let go of the need for justice or to set things right–at least, not in the heat of the moment. Understanding that both the perpetrator of pain and the one in pain is both crying out for the same thing–to be loved–frees me to open up my hands to receive the Love that I need from God, others and myself, to heal, instead of keeping it clenched in a fist of fury, ready to retaliate.
But this time around, I’m feeling conflicted.
Here I am, talking about love and compassion on The Love Culture, but I wasn’t feeling very loving or compassionate at the moment towards the source of my pain. I felt disgusted instead. And I felt bad for feeling this.
Then a friend comes along and gives me this reassurance:
“Dont ever be afraid to feel “negative” feelings.
They are just signals, not the be-alls and end-alls.
In the great silence of which you understand, there is the unfolding of His greatness and love, which can NEVER be taken away by our feelings.” – TW
I felt grateful for this reminder.
His permission (yes, we don’t need ‘permission’ so to speak, but when we’re stuck and unable to move, it helps to have someone say “IT’S OKAY, GO AHEAD”) to feel without condemnation, allowed me to navigate my way through this, by trying to understand,
“What are my “negative” feelings signalling?”
That I need Healing.
That I need more Love.
Both of which I can choose to receive in prayer, even in this time of pain.
What is your pain telling you? What are your “negative” feelings signalling? May your permission to feel, and your courage to face your darkness, give you the Understanding to Love and Be Loved.
Michelle Tan is the Founder of The Love Culture ~ Inspiring A Loving Way Of Living. https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture
Her mission is to make space for Faith, Hope & LOVE through her writings, clothing line ROX/STA http://www.roxstastudio.com & music.