We talked about embracing it, but maybe you’re a person who’s embracing it all the time. Just as dangerous if not worse is holding onto it. Here’s why, when you hold onto pain the only one it is hurting is you.
Listen to any victim’s statements during a sentencing hearing in any courtroom, and it’s easy to see who has held onto their pain and who has released it. It’s almost astounding, but at that statement or perhaps in a communication later, the victims forgive their perpetrators. Why is that? It is because forgiveness is letting go and forgiveness is how we heal.
There is no adult human alive with feelings who hasn’t been hurt, failed, rejected, or disappointed in some way. Because of the job I do in mental health, I’ve heard more than my share of stories about how cruel humans can be to one another, how selfish and how horrible. Yet I know not one of those patients came to me to help them hold onto their pain, they came to me to help them release it. Releasing it is what this work of live is about. We don’t ask for this pain, we ask for love, but often what we get is rejection and pain. But in order to feel our best, we have to release it.
I’m a big fan of Mary Lambert’s Body Love. “Fathers and uncles are not claiming your knife anymore,Are not your razor, no, Put the sharpness back, You are worth more… than a man’s whim or your father’s mistake, You are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 4, You are no less valuable as a 32a than a 36c”. How many of us think our definition and value are about something others see? Yet just as many “beautiful” people are victims of the same pain, and sometimes even more so, and people in pain don’t feel any of their beauty.
Physical pain is one thing, but if one focuses too much on it, their whole life is about pain. The same is true of emotional pain. Bad things happen, but we have to learn how to forgive people, and forgive bad luck. How? I can only explain how I do it. But this is based on years of research, knowledge, and practice.
I’ve gotten pretty good at letting things go. I’ve had alot of practice. I focus on what I can control and what good I can find in every situation. So there are people in my life, who like me, are not perfect. I try to rejoice in the love I get rather than obsess wabout the love I don’t. I try to enjoy every project that turns out right, and I try to let go of what I fail at. I accept that I and others are only human and we all make mistakes. Sometimes I don’t feel happy, but I can look at others’ happiness and appreciate watching it like one might watch a beautiful painting or flower. I try to pay attention to all the beauty around me, and every little thing that’s going right. When I’m really miserable, I get excited about running water, flush toilets, and that zombies aren’t currently running around my streets. In other words, I try to pay attention to as much as I can to what’s right and good in my life. I try to look at the pain, whether it’s physical or emotional, as a sensation, something interesting, and then I try to pay attention to something else instead. Maybe I’m grateful for the new leaf growing out of a plant that maybe will be a flower someday. So this is what Mindfulness is. The more I pay attention to what is right and good in the present moment is how I stay calm and happy. It works for me. Mindfulness training is easily available by going to YouTube and watching/listening to a video. I have a close friend going through a hard life transition. Recently, when I was all out of helpful words, I suggested she try this. An hour later, she was feeling much much better. Everything we’re good at takes practice. I invite you to try it.