Feeling pain is a reality of our human experience. Of course given a choice we’d rather avoid it; but we understand some pain is necessary for a better life, such as when getting vaccinated. But when we cannot avoid pain, what can help us to better withstand it (besides medication) is to put our focus elsewhere. This is true for physical as well as emotional pain. When people hurt us emotionally, we have a choice to either not focus on that hurt or to “wallow” in it. When we wallow or dwell on the hurts (continually remembering and reliving them), it makes getting past them much more difficult. It can also lead us unintentionally into negative behavior and thought patterns, depression and anxiety, to name a few. An example of a negative thinker is someone who has what is known as a “victim mentality.” These types of people feel powerless to change their lives because they mostly blame others for their circumstances or pain. While other people may well be responsible for causing our hurts, the truth is we have a choice whether to stay stuck on what they did to us or let it go. So as difficult as that may be, it is possible to overcome emotional pain. Here are a few ways to start us on a path to being “overcomers” instead of “victims:”
- Forgive – it can be one of the hardest things to do, but it will also bring the most benefit. Begin by being open to the idea that, with help, you can move past the pain even though you haven’t forgotten it. And know that forgiving does not mean what they did is okay. It does mean giving up your right to get revenge or hold it over them. It ultimately benefits you the most.
- Be grateful – If we really think about it; we learn a great deal about life, people, and even ourselves through most difficulties, even when those difficulties were not of our choosing. We need to focus more on the positive outcome, not just the negative occurrence and intentionally appreciate what was learned and who we met on the road to having learned it.
- Give – Not much can turn a bad experience to good better than using what we learned to benefit someone else. And being occupied with helping others naturally takes the focus off ourselves.
Not to be overlooked is the reality that some emotional pain is actually deeper and better described as emotional injury. An example of this is the emotional effects of physical or sexual abuse. Overcoming more severe emotional pain or injury will likely take the help of an experienced counselor. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you need help overcoming any type of emotional pain. At VCC we help people cope with and heal from emotional pain and injury every day.