When you hear the phrase ‘healing from pain’, what do you think of? A pulled hamstring? A bum rotator cuff? A sprained ankle? Pain that happens within the body is something we’re all very familiar with. We also know how to handle these little bumps in the road of our day to day life–time off from the gym, an ice pack or two, a bit more grace when it comes to our workouts.
But how often do we do the same for the pain not in our muscles or our bones, but our hearts and our spirits? Not often enough. And that’s because self-awareness tends to get pretty messy. It brings up pain from past experiences stored in the subconscious mind–and before you know it, that pain then shows up in our bodies.
Sure, we all hide from our emotions from time to time. It’s a natural defense mechanism and one that has served the human race well for eons. When we experience these emotions–be they shame, fear, anger, loneliness–we tend to get overwhelmed by them and stuff them down deep. Sometimes they’re so deep we aren’t even aware they’re in there until we find ourselves overeating or skipping our daily workout. Sometimes not even then! The mind is very adept at moving forward, even if our bodies and spirits are stuck.
The problem then becomes a physical thing too. Emotions get stuck in our bodies leading to burnout, depression,inflammation,emotional imbalances and even disease. (just the word itself is the clue: dis-ease). The very feelings we have been ignoring suddenly become real live health issues that we no longer can deny.
If you leave your pain in the subconscious mind (and body), that subconscious drives your thoughts, behaviors and the subsequent outcomes of your life. If we don’t take the time to increase awareness of our thought life, we repeat behavior patterns born from our pain. We make choices (often with significant consequences) from our pain–instead of from a position of power. ⠀⠀⠀
Our growth is stunted and the beauty of our future is forfeited to a past we can do nothing about. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You deserve better (and so do those whose lives you touch).⠀⠀
If you want to grow past the things that have hurt you in life, you have to be willing to inventory them just enough to know what you are dealing with–this is self-awareness. There are many great ways to do this: journaling, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more. One of my favorites for doing work like this is an American psychologist and author Tara Brach. She has a very effective teaching framework called RAIN that can help you work through these issues.
RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Nurture. It goes something like this:
Recognize what is happening
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
Investigate with interest and care
Nurture with self-compassion
Yes, it can be as easy as 1,2,3…and 4.
Once you’ve taken the time to know what’s jacking you up, you can begin to let go of things other people have done out of their own pain, shame, fear, and anger–things that have nothing to do with you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Awareness is about letting go and moving forward, climbing up and standing on top of the hurts of the past with a new perspective, instead of lying beneath them, crushed by their weight.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You become FREE. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Cultivating self-awareness takes consistency. It often takes time, but it’s well worth the effort. Why?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Because the things that hurt you so deeply in the past DO NOT deserve control over your life today. You are not a victim–and you get to own your choices and step unafraid into the beautiful life you were created to live. ❤️⚔️ ⠀⠀