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Sometimes people seek therapy who are so balled up that they are emotionally paralyzed.
The thought of getting in touch with what is bothering them is overwhelming. This resistance to feeling is due to some tragic loss or trauma, yet they were made to think it’s wrong to feel hurt, sad, or angry. For example, someone suffering from the loss of a child might be sharing genuine sorrow and grief, and then someone in a 12-Step program or spiritual advisor tells the person they “can’t afford resentment,” or the “pain is not real, it’s an illusion.”  This type of advice uses the tools of recovery and spirituality to an extreme detriment and a complete reenactment of the dysfunctional family rules; “Don’t think, don’t trust, don’t feel, and don’t talk about it.”

There’s one thing for sure; if you’re stuffing your feelings, the pain will not magically evaporate; it will intensify. At that point, either you will make the changes to relieve yourself of the discomfort, or you will self-destruct by burying it.

Letting Go Is Easier Than Holding On

Pain is the result of unresolved emotions. I have never read any spiritual materials that say that feelings are bad. But when a person is made to feel bad about feelings, they remain trapped and rumbling in the unconscious. This pattern usually starts when a child is not encouraged to express feelings healthily. If a child is shamed for crying, the child learns to stuff feelings. If a child is punished for feeling angry, this also gets shoved down and bottled up. Bottled-up emotions morph into pain. From this perspective, we can understand that pain is an illusion because it has little to do with the present situation and is the accumulation of unresolved grief.

Feelings are not pain; they are simply states of being that arise and move through us when expressed. Feelings are uncomfortable, but they are not unbearable until we hold them in and block their natural expression. Crying, like rain, is cleansing.

Each Teardrop Heals the Wound

Man did not create tears. They have two functions: removing foreign objects from the eyes or non-joyous feelings from the heart. When we release our sorrow, it cannot turn into pain.

If you perceive yourself as being in pain, try giving yourself permission to feel your grief and let it go. Are you willing to go through the short-term discomfort for long-term peace? Would you be willing to have an appendix operation before it bursts, or are you going to tell yourself it’s an illusion? Surgery is scary and unpleasant, but it also saves our lives, and after you go through the temporary discomfort, you feel better. Physical illness is often a symptom of what needs healing emotionally. When you grieve, it eliminates long-term suffering.

Feeling pain might feel uncomfortable, but getting rid of the source of the pain prevents the long-term resentment from setting in.

Forgiveness is Natural

You won’t hold on to resentment and grudges when you let go of the pain. Pain prevents you from forgiveness, like picking a scab and not allowing your wound to heal. Once you tend to the wound and then leave it alone, it naturally goes away.

The space where your pain resides can be replaced with hope and peace. When you let go of grief, you decide you are worth the happiness and contentment that happens from a healed heart.

If you want a heart that vibrates to love and be loved, then be willing to let go of whatever stands in the way. After all, that’s why we’re here – to love and support one another.

Join our movement.

Dr. Donna Marks has been an author, consultant, public speaker, and psychotherapist for over thirty years. She was licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987 and then certified in Addiction, Gestalt Therapy, Hypnosis, Sex Therapy, and Psychoanalysis. She currently has a concierge psychotherapy practice in Palm Beach, Florida.
She has appeared on numerous podcasts and local television. She is the author of two books, Learn Grow Forgive – A Path to Spiritual Success, and Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Solution (revised), and winner of multiple book awards. Her next book, The Healing Moment: Seven Keys to Turn Messes into Miracles, will be released in 2023.

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