Managing Pain & Difficult Emotions

As humans we experience a range of emotions including happiness, joy, contentment, anger, grief, sadness, and fear. We need all of the emotions we feel and each one serves a purpose in our lives, even the ones that don’t feel good. The ability to feel emotions is one of the greatest gifts of our humanity.

Have you ever seen or read something that resonates with you, and then all of a sudden you hear the same message everywhere you look?  I recently had that experience with the concepts of grief and pain.  Let me start by sharing some feelings I had when my children were born. I wanted so badly to save my kids from any pain.  I just didn’t want to see them hurt (plus it felt like my heart was ripped out every time they hurt)!  As time went on, I realized that they would have to experience pain and learn how to overcome adversity. My children could not become the people I hoped they would be without having these experiences and skills. Because my kids experienced pain their empathy for others grew.  When something was challenging or they experienced a failure, determination was fostered.  In addition, they gained empathy for others who may struggle. Through adversity, I saw them gain strength and compassion. As a result of these realizations, I changed my parenting paradigm several years ago.

I want my kids to become people of character.  I hope they embody kindness, service, honesty, and have a work ethic (and of course, I also would love for them to be happy).  Somewhere along the line, I realized for them to be the people they are meant to be they will experience pain (just like the rest of us do).  Ouch!  What a realization!

I decided that my job was to give them the love, support, and skills. I needed to help them foster the ability to learn from, and move through the difficult and painful times in their lives. We cannot avoid the hurt we will experience from time to time in this life. We can learn and grow from it, although it is helpful to be surrounded by love as we grow. As I contemplated this concept recently, I decided it was a concept worth sharing with you!

Where Does Counseling Fit In?

People come to MVP to lessen painful and uncomfortable emotions.  It is true that when we experience prolonged and profound sadness, we need to learn to move through it.  When we experience excessive worry and fear, it is not helpful for us.  If we handle our anger poorly, it hurts us and those around us.  That being said, all of these emotions are useful.  It would never be our goal to not experience any of these emotions.  If we lost any of them, we would lose a part of ourselves and possibly even some of the joy life has to offer.

Our goal is to recognize our emotions and learn how to manage them in a way that is additive to our lives. When we are angry we can understand where our anger is coming from and try to address it in a healthy way.  If we are sad, we can learn how to move through the sadness to a place of greater peace. Instead of staying up worrying or avoiding things that make us anxious, we can learn when worried thoughts are serving us and when to let them go. Although all of our emotions are useful being consumed by negative emotions is not!

If you need support experiencing the range of emotion in a way that adds to your life and relationship, we are always here to help!



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