Friday, May 15, 2015

Choosing to Let Go of Emotional Pain

How sad is this message above? 
It's not the first time I have seen the above message or something similar posted onto someone's social media account. I remember being this person. I remember the fear of trusting again, or at least, being vulnerable enough to let someone back into my life. And like it says, "behind every fake smile is a backstabber" -- that alone, when you truly believe that with every person you come across, you automatically limit your life experiences. I love that old saying, "Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." Holding resentment blocks every energy channel you have. It prevents you from living a fulfilling life. I'm not just saying this to 'seem wise' or to pretend I'm some sort of spiritual guru because I'm not -- I can only speak from experience. I once shut the doors, the windows, the blinds on every. single. person. in. my. life. for a very long time. I went through terrible periods of depression after I was hurt by people I cared about. I was angry and I took a lot of my anger out on innocent people. My misery had to be felt by everyone. It wasn't fair at all. I didn't smile all that much because that meant I may become vulnerable enough to let people in. I kept my friends at an arm's length, and some rarely heard from me at all. But I learned a very important lesson in life: everybody has an expiration date, whether they intentionally leave your life by choice, or through death. And that's something we cannot control.

Control.

I gave it up. I gave up trying to control every single action or offense that was thrown at me. I stopped expecting perfection from people who were imperfect just like me. The biggest step toward my recovery from bitterness was that I truly learned the art of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not just a word -- it's an act of also forgetting what the other person(s) had done to you. It's starting a new leaf, whether you choose to have that person in your life or not. That's up to you. Forgiveness does not require you to have the offender in your life, but it does require you to let go. That in itself can be the hardest thing to do. You also (and most importantly) have to forgive yourself. I never knew that part. I had a terrible time with self-depreciating thoughts and distorted images of myself. 

So I’m going to change that quote that many people post up on their Facebook walls.

“You know what? Yes, I have changed. I’m not as angry as I used to be, because I realize we’re not perfect. If I tell someone a secret, it means I trust them with all my heart. A smile is beautiful, especially when it’s sincere. I started letting people back into my life again, because in the end, they’re only going to enhance my life. And if they decide to leave, that is totally out of my control. I’ve changed because I now realize that life’s not worth living if I don’t take risks.”

There are way too many people walking around with the word "damaged" tattooed on their foreheads.   They feel victimized and hold heavy grudges that they just can't shake off. I have to say, the feeling of letting go has a process. It's comparable to child birth (or from what I can imagine of it). It hurts like hell at first, but once you let all of those negative emotions go and truly release them, forgive them, forgive yourself and wish well for whoever it was who tore your life apart -- you'll find the most incredible relief you have ever felt. The euphoric sensation of freedom is something that nobody who is bitter or resentful can ever feel. I do believe that this action alone (forgiving/releasing/letting go) is God's favor to you. It's also a gift that you are giving to yourself. And what I mean by that is -- you cannot get to that type of spiritual level unless you go through the labor and hard work of manipulating through your emotions and releasing all the bitterness that's been left. You then have nothing to be angry over, and for some, that's a very strange feeling. Some people want to feel that anger because the other person "deserves it". Think of it like this -- that person probably doesn't even know you're still stewing over whatever. So who's the one suffering? And if we're all connected in some cosmic way -- nobody deserves unforgiveness. If we're all connected through God, then we should show the integrity of our faith.

There are many people attached to their pain. They associate their emotional pain with the present, making everyone that they come across a potential threat. They place all of the blame of their past onto those they come across today, especially if it's a romantic partner. I guess that's one of the biggest reasons why they call it "emotional baggage".

I was reading Eckhert Tolle's The Power of Now -- and I occasionally read it on and off like a reference book, even though I have read through the entire book. This is probably one of my favorite paragraphs in his book:
"To suddenly see that you are or have been attached to your pain can be quite a shocking realization. The moment you realize this, you have broken the attachment. The pain-body (past emotional or physical pain) is an energy field, almost like an entity, that has become temporarily lodged in your inner space. It is life energy that has become trapped, energy that is no longer flowing. Of course, the pain-body is there because of certain things that happened in the past. It is the living past in you, and if you identify with it, you identify with the past. A victim identity is the belief that the past is more powerful than the present, which is the opposite of the truth. It is the belief that other people and what they did to you are responsible for who you are now, for your emotional pain or your inability to be your true self. The truth is that the only power there is is contained within this moment. It is the power of your presence. Once you know that, you also realize that you are responsible for your inner space now -- nobody else is -- and that the past cannot prevail against the power of Now." 
If you choose to remain bitter because of a failed or an abusive relationship, then that is your choice alone. But if you can realize that the pain-body (emotional baggage) is stagnant energy which can make it difficult to let other people in, or to have successful and fulfilling relationships now, then you've freed yourself from living in the past. Emotional hurt from the past can still fester inside our minds, inside our very being and give us an attitude of resentment toward not just the person who hurt you, but to the people who genuinely want to be apart of your life right now. I have seen quite a few people live their lives alone after failed relationships. They never sought for another partner again. They chose to live by themselves with no intimate and emotional attachments. "Why should I? I'm only gonna get hurt again." Their pain-body predicts their future relationships if they choose to still live in the past. It's not only unfair to the people who want to be with you, it's mostly unfair to yourself to deny yourself true happiness. But, that's not to say that there are some people who actually do prefer to live alone or without another partner. That's entirely different and not associated with bitterness from the past.

To all my overthinking, over-analyzing damaged souls, repeat these affirmations every single morning, until it finally becomes who you are. You are beautiful. Now believe it.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!