Updated: May 1
Growing up, many of us went through some sort of negative experiences. These negative experiences caused uncomfortable emotions that as children we did not know how to process. If you were like me, you chose the emotional avoidance route, using outside distractions to avoid feeling internal emotional discomfort.
This could come in the form of people pleasing, hyperactivity, emotional eating, drugs, violence, sex, alcohol, shopping, incessant need for approval from others and the list goes on. With repetition into adulthood, many of us picked up multiple pseudo escapes in which we used to numb our emotions.
In my personal journey, emotional eating was one of my primary coping mechanisms that led to me being overweight which triggered even more emotional turmoil. Through a long process of pain and recovery I learned something that changed my
life. My hope is that it can change yours too.
Sitting with discomfort and allowing myself to feel it.
When you deny emotional pain, everything you say, do and all of your relationships become contaminated by the deference of your pain. The energy you emanate from your own unconscious suffering gets subliminally picked up by others. If those that are picking up your energy from all this unconscious pain also have their own unconscious pain, they will deflect their pain in the form of hurting or attacking you. You attract whatever corresponds to your inner state of being.
Suffering in life is inevitable. Everyone suffers at some point and no one can avoid it. The first step to turning your life around is acceptance of this suffering.
Accept each present moment for the here and now. Don't turn away from the pain, feel it. Do not simply think about it. Feel it. Allow your whole being in that very moment to fully accept what is. There is no way out of this pain, only a way through. Feel the present moment with every cell of your body. Feel your heart breaking. Feel your head throbbing. Feel the warm river of tears that may flow from this anguish. Accept it all. Shine the light of presence and acceptance on the dark pain that has been avoided for so many years.
The first time you try this, you may feel unbearable pain. The pain of shattering your ego and finally connecting with your true being- your consciousness. Connecting to who you are made to be in the image of God before life happened and tainted everything you knew. The resulting inner peace you feel- if only for a few fleeting seconds is your first step towards enlightenment and a peaceful life.
This is not a one and done situation. But with continued practice those fleeting moments of peace can become more frequent and last for a longer duration of time. You will be able to find peace at work, in traffic, in the middle of an argument with your spouse.
Let's take a look at a real life situation. I went through a bad break up many years ago. It was painful. It was difficult to face all the pain so I would distract myself. I would go out to eat, drink alcohol and go shopping every time those painful emotions surfaced. Over time, the pain become less frequent. "Time heals everything" is what I was always told. No. Time healed nothing. I just got really good and stuffing my pain away to a point that I became completely unconscious of it. It was still there and still had a very real impact on my life. I continued to end up in relationships with similar endings. Why? Because deep inside, I still had those emotions of not feeling worthy of love, not feeling like I would ever be good enough to keep a healthy relationship. Feelings of so much insecurity I unconsciously didn't even want to get close enough to someone in fear that if they found out who I truly was they would leave anyways. This unacknowledged and unaccepted pain led to history repeating itself and then me playing the victim; always asking myself "why does this always happen to me?"
It wasn't until one final traumatic event that it shattered me to my core so much that there was no going back. Truly a death within myself. Not just emotional pain. Very real physical pain all stemming from years and years of unaddressed emotional pain. It was time to accept it. Life changed immensely after that moment. I broke off friendships, pursued new dreams that I previously didn't think I was capable of. I stopped living my life around the need to be in a relationship. I changed my whole inner being which then manifested a completely different external world.
There is a level of readiness that it takes to even be able to comprehend acceptance of the present moment and use it to change your life. It can be overwhelming at first. Thinking about resurfacing all of those old painful memories and then laying them to rest. Many people identify with their past trauma. Their identity is in victimhood to what happened to them. Acceptance of what happened and being able to live life in the presence moment versus living as a victim to past circumstances means that one must completely lose their identity and learn who they really are. It is scary stuff. But let me ask you this: would you rather stay the same and spend the rest of your days on this earth stuck in your own pain? Or would you rather take a chance, do the work and live a life you could have only once dreamed of?
Put some awareness into paying attention to your inner experience with acceptance. Make an effort to reach out and respond to yourself and others with kindness. Notice how you perceive yourself and the world around you. A whole new world awaits you once you you finally accept every present moment for what it is.
Book recommendation for further study: The Power of Now, Ekhart Tolle
Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh
Kimberly Flores is the founder of Sophrosyne Health. For more information on how to begin the process of healing your relationship with food and becoming a healthy person physically mentally and emotionally, apply here for your free consultation.