Emotional pain can arise from past relationships, losing a loved one, being confused with our sexuality, traumatic experiences, and other reasons.
Dealing with this pain is typically unpleasant, thus we resort to avoiding it.
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Kelsey Grant, a self-love expert, for my podcast.
One of the most powerful ideas that came out of our conversations is that our pain is valuable. It can teach us but we’re normally unwilling to listen.
Kelsey is a big believer that we can use our pain to support us in moving forward. Below is the framework she uses with her clients and herself to allow pain to be our teacher.
1. Make A Declaration to Yourself
If we resist our pain we are unable to learn from it. Allowing pain to be our teacher begins by granting ourselves permission to feel the pain.
Often when we feel emotional pain, we choose to escape it and numb it. Numbing will only prevent us from learning.
Kelsey’s process begins by allowing pain to flow through our body and embracing it.
Anytime we are sick we begin to start taking care of the body by hydrating, providing it with nutrients and resting it.
The same is for pain. If we’re sensing a difficult emotion or something has happened to trigger our emotions it’s necessary to start taking care of our body.
Whether that be green smoothies or eating well, Kelsey starts nourishing her body to provide an environment for the pain to operate.
3. Engage It
Typically when we feel pain, our natural reaction is shut down and resist it. Kelsey does the opposite, she engages it.
She starts this process with some form of physical activity, like biking, to start activating the pain.
Our pain is typically wrapped up in negative mental stories, the goal is not to sit with it but to burn through the energy.
Cultivating an environment for our pain to move outward begins the cycle of accessing and processing it.
4. Perspective Shift
This step is like a mantra. Kelsey begins this part of the process by saying to herself “I choose to see this differently.”
Often our pain has a similar face and it’s challenging for us to see any good in it. It’s our responsibility to sit with it and see the lesson that it’s seeking to teach us.
It’s like embracing a mindset saying “I deserve better. I’m willing for this pain to show something that has been hidden from my consciousness.”
I’m a firm believer that our emotions act like a lighthouse guiding us to shore. And if we’re hurting and suffering that there is something we need to reflect on.
5. Ask Yourself the Caring Question
The last and final step is asking, “what is something I could dedicate myself to something bigger than the pain I’m feeling?”
Everyone feels pain. We all understand it even when we think our pain is unique or different.
The key becomes, what can you focus on to move through your pain? A purpose statement to give your pain deeper meaning.
Can we use this pain to motivate us for a run? Can we use this pain to create a piece of art? Can we use this pain to create a better relationship with your father, mother, sister, brother?
For Kelsey, it was making a decision to support 500,000 people to love themselves better. Every day she woke up and dedicated herself to that ideal – if I was that person who was going to lead 500,000, who do I need to become? What do I need to face today?
From this Kelsey’s belief was born – “the degree which I can support people, is the degree which I’m intimate with my own shit.”
When we allow our pain to serve a higher purpose it’s no longer a limiting story, rather it becomes a path to guide us.
It is through this process that we can allow pain to become our messenger and a teacher to us all.
Here to support you on your journey,