“Being emotional is not bad. It is a good thing. It means you have a soft heart. When our mouths can’t express our feelings, our tears and silence express everything. We should not hide our emotions. Express them to overcome them. Expressing emotions is not a sign of weakness.”
The problem however comes when we make our negative emotions a craving driven habit. In my last blog I touched on the subject of emotional pain addiction. Sufferings and struggles are emotional addictions as strong as addictions to alcohol or nicotine or drugs only that they are created by our own internal emotional states and not external things like in the other mentioned forms of addictions. You end up having your negative emotions feeding your thinking and your thinking feeding your negative emotions and your negative emotions feeding your thinking…..and it is a cycle that eventually becomes a normal emotional state for you in which case you have become addicted. I talked about the physiology of how that happens in my last blog.
Today I will talk about how to overcome emotional pain addiction. But before I do so, let’s have a glimpse into a story I read of one lady who might be a victim of this. This lady is married to a loving and caring man who is respecting of her and her opinions and in her own words, “my word is his command.” You could call him “the ideal man.” But not to this lady. Apparently she feels like she hates him, she does not “feel him” at all. She can’t even get sexually aroused by him. You may ask why a woman would feel that way towards a man that has only been good to her, taken her to school, picks her up every evening from work, a work he himself organized for her. Just to fan the flames up a little, this lady is apparently lusting over a male colleague at her work place and is considering having a relationship with this guy. This is a woman you will call selfish, foolish, and unappreciative and all those vices you can put your head on. Which she is from the peripheral view of it all. But let’s get a little deeper into this lady’s life.
Growing up, she lost her mother at a very tender age. She was forced to grow up with a step mother who hated her and maltreated her all through. She had to run away and got married to her hubby just to get away from her pains and miserable life with her step mother. She fortunately landed a good man who gave her a life the opposite of what she was accustomed to. Now, like I mentioned previously, when all you have known for the better part of your life is unhappiness and pain, happiness becomes unreal and alien to you and in many cases you begin viewing happiness as a threat for worse. This unconsciously makes you mind to seek out situations that are bound to disrupt the happiness and bring about the status quo of unhappiness that you are well familiar with. This in most cases comes as an unconscious drive and we end up unconsciously running away from happiness in pursuit of that which we are sure is bound to bring us harm because that is the world we know best. This happens especially when we have never received psychological help to get over our past painful buggages.
This story could be an example of someone addicted to emotional pain. At the back of her mind she actually believes that all the nice things and treatment she gets from the husband she does not deserve. She is incapable of appreciating a good man because she unconsciously believes that is not what she deserves. Hence her equally unconscious need to seek out a situation that is bound to ruin a relationship with a good man.The fact that she wrote her story in an attempt to seek help also tells us that she does not like how things are turning out with her emotions and she hopes that she can revive the right feelings for her husband and stop seeking situations she knows will harm her life. Now, here is how we will walk together through the process of getting over this addiction that has proved to be the worst self-sabotage you can hold in your life.
- Acknowledge your emotions but DON NOT judge them. It is the hardest thing to do but always worth it at the end of the day. If it is anger you feel from your past, acknowledge that. Don’t run away from it. The only way you can change your negative emotions is by first of all acknowledging that they are there with you. Accept them but do not judge them. Many time the mistake we make and I will admit that I for too long made this mistake is, I Could have negative emotions and I know I’m not okay but I would run away from the reality and try to create a fake “okay” state but deep within I’m fading away. Then when eventually I came to acknowledge that there was something not right with my emotional state I began to give myself harsh judgments. I called myself a fool and undeserving for allowing anyone to treat me in whatever way they pleased. I was too harsh with myself and this is the moment I could become suicidal. I could hate on myself for simply being me. What judging your negative emotions does is actually plunge you into a deeper emotional state of depression. Which only worsens your situation than helping it.
- Have compassion on yourself honey. Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself some credit. You are worth the best. You deserve better than you believe. You deserve to be happy. I mean, do you believe God created you knowing that you were worthless? I don’t think so. Tell yourself you deserve people who treat you right and who have your best interest at heart.
- If you have ever experienced rejection, you will know that the pain is just as bad as physical pain. It takes your brain through the same pathways physical pain does. It hurts bad. It toys with your inborn need to belong and it is very distressing given that we are all born with an innate need to belong. LET GO OFF REJECTION DARLING. They rejected you before not because something is wrong with you but because they just did not have the key to unlock your best self. Get support from people you know accept you for who you are.
- Your past happened, stop giving it too much thought. Focus on the better you of today and tomorrow. The more you think about the past especially when it was traumatic, the more it becomes distressing which causes too much anger and regret. It simply increases your stress levels. It is okay to remember it because we cannot erase memories but DO NOT ruminate over it.
- Admit to compliments from people. Many times I had a hard time admitting compliments from people because I had created a belief in me that I did not really deserve any compliments. That all the compliments were fake and just a superficial act of people which meant nothing to what they really hold on me. It took me a while to realize that we have people who when they complement you they mean it and it is only fair to yourself to admit to the compliments and own them.
- Change your thoughts and behavior. Very important. You can never make progress to the positive when you still hold negative thoughts and act in a negative way. You have to change all that. Change your failures into something positive. Stop feeling helpless and know that you have enough powers over your own life. Stop blaming yourself for what happened in the past and compliment yourself for who you are today and who you wish to become. Blaming yourself will only lower your self-esteem. Focus more on ways you can improve and be better.
- Boost your self-esteem honey. Have some self-affirmation moments everyday where you actually point out your strengths and best features. Affirm those strengths and those great features. Tell yourself how great you are. Remember, you are unique and lovely just the way you are and that is why you were not created to resemble so and so, because YOU ARE MEANT TO BE YOU. Stop the negative thoughts that are bound to demean your real essence and cause you anxiety and depression. If one person does not love you it doesn’t mean everyone hates you. We can’t be loved by everyone. Even Christ in His perfection had a lot of haters. Focus more on those who love you.
- Mind the company you keep. Very important. Surround yourself with people who see your strengths and help you outgrow your weaknesses. Keep off people who are after pointing out your weaknesses and laughing at them. Instead, get more positive people who see your weaknesses as an opportunity to be stronger.
- Avoid fixating on the past. Fixation is bound to stagnate your growth. GET COUNSELING to get over your past buggages and find a healthier way to deal with them.
- Stand up to your inner critic. That inner evil critic is busy telling you how you don’t deserve any better, how you are worthless, how you are not beautiful, how you are not smart enough, stand up to him or her and let them know you are worth by far more than they think. Treat yourself with compassion and understanding. That inner critic is far from being correct.
- Practice some stress reduction techniques like deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, progressive muscle relation, exercises….
- Always believe something good will come out of a situation. Don’t sit there and wallow in misery though. Something good will only come if you get up and turn your negative situation into a positive.
- Avoid listening or watching or reading a lot of sad stuff. Make it a point to read things that give you a happy feeling and a positive emotional state.
- Get out of your comfort zone and try interacting with new positive people.
- Practice smiling. A smile goes a long way from the physical curve of the lips. It is accompanied by a release of happy hormones that you will appreciate flooding your system. The more you smile, the happier you get.
- Always do what is right and do not be guided by the wrongs people have done to you in the past.
- Be good to people. Help them without expecting anything in return. There is a content sense of satisfaction with ourselves whenever we do a selfless act. This satisfaction is bound to fill our system with positive emotions and that is what we are looking for.
- Find a balance in life. Eat healthy, exercise, sleep enough, work, have fulfilling relationships with others, have a sufficient social life (very important) and be sure to have fun.
It may take days, or weeks or months to break the addiction but be sure to persist until it happens. The reward is worth it. You will feel a new person awaken from within, sometimes for the first time, and this new person you will love.
“Once you know your inner being is balanced and silent and peaceful, suddenly doors that have been closed by your thoughts simply move and the whole existence becomes clear to you. You are not accidental. Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it. That is what gives you dignity, that the whole existence needs you.”- OSHO
BY JACKIE WANGWE