How do you face your pain, so you can dance in the rain?
This one’s hard for me to write. I had an AHA moment the other day about a choice I made a year ago. I used anger to numb my feelings of pain and stress. Many of us live lives with giant stressors daily. And when we don’t want to feel the stress or the feelings below the stress (usually fear, unworthy, unlovable, etc), we go for our drug of choice. Lashing out to cover up the real feeling inside. Excessive anything creates life imbalance. Yet, who hasn’t felt super sad and gone for something to “comfort” yourself?
You just want to numb out pain so you don’t have to feel. No judgement here. We each have a drug of choice we gravitate towards. Our choice serves us by numbing us and giving us the illusion of protection from pain.
What is your drug of choice so you don’t have to feel?
*workaholic or constant busyness
With me, it wasn’t always an occasional thing. For a long time my drug of choice was bulimia. This was “my thing” from the time I was 8, off and on (more on than off), until I was 25. When I wasn’t choosing bulimia to numb me out, I chose anger to numb my bigger feelings of unlovable or unworthy; dissatisfaction in my body, my relationships, my career. Hugely big and scary. I believed anger protected me from feeling weak and from anyone seeing how awful I really felt. So not true. My “hidden” feelings kept me from establishing strong valuable relationships; kept me from satisfaction in my career; kept me from enjoying my life. And what’s worse? I kept receiving more experiences and situations reflecting the shitty way I felt inside.
This is true for most of us. We have painful feelings we don’t want to feel including parts of ourselves we don’t want to claim. So instead we are hiding that shit by not admitting it to ourselves and/or numbing the pain with our drug or drugs of choice. You can definitely use more than one and may even use one I haven’t listed.
So how does facing your pain help you dance in the rain? For starters, you cannot truly love all of you if you can’t see and accept all of you. And if you are not seeing all of you or unaware of your feelings because you’ve kept them hidden or numb for so long, then you don’t have awareness. You cannot change or claim what you are unaware of. So begin with awareness, ie. Facing your pain. Later after you face it, you can work on accepting it, shifting it, making changes…all kinds of healing.
Facing your pain can be scary and can feel HUGE. Some of us hate change and facing pain is a big ass change. Claiming who you are, in all your glory and imperfectness is also a BIG CHANGE. When it feels HUGE, the feelings you haven’t felt in a long time feel overwhelming, neverending and gigantic. Thus, your reactions can be on the extreme side.
You see I was in and out of numbness almost 20 years., When I started feeling again it felt HUGE, EXTREME, IMBALANCED. The highs were high and the lows were LOW. Who wants deal with that? I didn’t. It felt like a rollercoaster at times and not in a fun way. Yet to get to awareness and balance (the beginning of dancing), I had to face the pain and the extremes.
And this is typically not a one and done situation. Meaning you don’t have just one feeling you’ve not faced or one thing about yourself you don’t like or accept. IT’S usually deeper and multiples.
My numb imbalanced feelings lead me into a relationship for 5 years with someone I never wanted to date. I fell into this relationship after I was in bulimic recovery and began loving myself. And this is so common. I see this with clients too. While my love for me was deeper than before, I still had so many feelings of lack: value, worth, esteem. This also translated into poor boundaries too. And this boyfriend mirrored all my lack feelings back to me during our time together. Since I was already in bulimic recovery, I turned to a different drug to numb my feelings. I smoked A LOT of pot. I numbed out feelings of sadness, lack of worth, self-doubt and just plain feeling unlovable as me. I accepted treatment within the relationship that would have me out the door immediately and never looking back today. It was a mirror of how I felt about me.
Towards the end of our relationship, I had begun learning about energy healing and my awareness was beginning to shift and my love for myself was beginning to deepen. So, when an extreme event occurred between us, my eyes opened as if I’d been asleep for five years and I took action leaving the relationship immediately. My beautiful anger fueled me with the fierce power of courage to leave.
My work was only beginning when I left the relationship. When I became free, I began embracing some of my feelings for the first time in a long time. Facing lots of painful realizations.
Can you see how not facing your pain can lead you to situations where you feel stuck, super unhappy and unlovable?
It is because I love myself, I can look at myself, all my parts: what I like and parts I don’t. When I moved out from THE boyfriend into my own place, though it was painful to face my feelings, I began to dance. And one afternoon, I was in the backyard setting up my grill and it began to rain. And I stayed a moment and felt the water tap me all over and was overwhelmed with emotion and joy. I began to dance in the rain.
I’m still a work in progress, becoming aware of and healing parts of me at a deeper level consistently. It’s a journey. And even gravitate to a numbing agent now and again, though most of the time, I write and deal with my feelings or share them with a friend or practice mindfulness or all of the above. And when the rain water and temps are warm, when it rains- especially in the Summer, I get out and dance in the rain.
I don’t have all the things I desire in my life, YET. I’m getting there. I have hope. I have belief. I have love. I live my life as best I can in the present moment. I continue facing my pains. You only get out of it what you put into it. And for me, the dancing becomes an even more vibrant joy when you claim all of you and your feelings. Love deepens and possibilities abound.
We all have shit and it stinks (Thank you Gwenn)… so rather than push it into a pile and pretend it isn’t there stinking…Face it, smell it, accept it and heal so you can embrace all of you and take your dancing up a notch and fully experience the beauty of life.