Our emotions are hurt every day, no matter how big or small the hurt is. We may feel upset because somebody rejected us or raised their voice at us. Or maybe somebody cut in front of us whilst driving, or failed to acknowledge our feelings. However the long-lasting emotional pain in our lives tend to come from severe incidents in our lives. Incidents that affected us so deeply that they remain to this day, because we haven’t addressed them.
How can we move forward and overcome this pain for good? How can we stop it playing back in our minds when we find ourselves alone with nobody but our thoughts? What can we do to stop this self-destructive cycle and move on to more peaceful places?
Go back in time
I remember when – aged 21 – I was on an internship in a city called Southampton, in the UK. I relocated to that city for the internship during a time when I was experiencing a lot of stress, due to my mind not being able to deal with family problems. There was a lot happening and I was deeply worried at times. This was made worse by the fact that I didn’t have much self-confidence and didn’t feel strong and capable enough to deal with negativity in a positive manner. A positive manner where I wouldn’t allow feelings of sadness to haunt me for an extended period of time, but instead I’d deal with them quickly, and move on. I couldn’t do this. I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t strong enough.
The biggest stress and sadness came from this terrible memory I have of my father physically assaulting my mother. This particular incident was very very difficult to witness and the memory was haunting me during this time. I knew I had to face it and not try to change my thoughts every time the memory played itself in my mind.
So I played it. I played it again and again until it no longer hurt me. By replaying that memory and taking myself to that exact place again, I lived through the emotions again and finally accepted it. I accepted that this had happened and I accepted the fact that things were okay now. My Mum was okay, alive and well. I also knew that I had so much to do in this world, and had to be a beacon of hope for others. By replaying the memory I became immune to it, the negative emotions faded and I started to feel at peace with this incident.
We’ve all been there. In times of darkness and despair where we don’t know if and how things will improve. They can improve. They will improve. But only – as hard as it is – if we face them.
Write it down
During this time in Southampton I was also subject to jealousy and resent from some of my colleagues. I was doing well in my internship and had the support and favour of the management there, because I was willing to take on new projects and learn as much as possible. This didn’t sit well with a few others because of the lack of praise they were receiving compared to the praise I was receiving.
The thought of these people would make sleeping difficult for me and I just didn’t understand why they would be resentful of me. So I decided to write down my problems in 3 steps: what was worrying me, what I could do about it and what I would do about it. Game changer! I immediately felt much more relieved! It was as if the negative thoughts had been thrown out of my mind and onto the piece of paper. That was the key for me during that period. I no longer lost sleep over what those colleagues thought of me, simply by writing down my problems in the 3-step formula above and then following up with the action necessary.
There’s no quick fix
There is no quick fix. Let me repeat that. There is no quick fix. Just as there is no shortcut to success, there is no quick fix when it comes to healing from deep emotional pain. However faith can make this healing more bearable. Even though I was suffering mentally, I had this underlying belief that I would make it through and that my life had a purpose and meaning. This underlying belief carried me all the way here, with you now.
So now I’d like to ask you something: where does your faith lie? Do you have faith that you will become everything you dreamed of becoming? Or do you have faith in the idea that your life is limited and you can’t be who you wish to be? Because whatever you believe, is right.
Man makes the beliefs and then the beliefs make the man.Tony Dhillon
Thank you for reading!
Very well written, Tony. It takes grit and courage to acknowledge pain and admit to yourself what you had been feeling. Glad you’ve faced your emotions and shown self-compassion during the process. Jia you, Tony! Rooting for you
Awww thank you Echo! Yeah and I find it’s always nice to look back briefly and see how much we’ve grown, mentally and emotionally. See you soon!