Suffering comes when we create resistance to tough feelings. These tough feelings, that I call 'clean', are vulnerable ones like sadness, grief and fear. Allowing yourself to feel this is a powerfully honest, brave and authentic act. It's not easy to do so but resisting tough emotions come in a variety of forms that cause great struggle: anxiety, panic, blame, judgement and more.
With my clients, we work on easing emotional suffering by recognize the underlying 'clean' emotions. It's a fearless act, a form of radical acceptance.
A client of mine lost a great friend. He died tragically and my client blamed herself for it. In truth, it was NOT her fault at all. She kept herself in a swirl of blame and confusion for a while. She really suffered and hurt. We discussed that underneath her blame, was great loss, a deep sadness and emptiness. This was her 'clean' pain. Raw, honest, brave and painful. We worked with her to get her to feel her grief versus confusing this pain with self directed harsh punishment (blame).
This was a process, not fast or simple. It's still an effort, a necessary one, and topic of continued work for us. We do it because getting to the 'clean' emotion, facing and dealing with it, is essential healing. The healing is the mending of a wound that need not cause life long suffering. (This is not to say that the sadness about her loss disappears. It doesn't but that's not the goal in this effort.)
Here are a few steps to illuminate 'clean' emotions:
1. Dump out all the thoughts about the situation. No editing, no judgment. Be really free and express it all.
2. Return to this written expression. Make a slide list of the emotions that you expressed in the dump text. Here are some examples: anger, disappointment, confusion, fear, sadness, powerlessness, etc.
3. Take some time to consider which emotions are the 'drivers', the underlying feeling. This is your 'clean' emotion.
4. Talk to some one in your life about this 'clean' emotion. Provide ample time to talk and share your feelings. Let it out and get the support you need.
Finding, then dealing and healing the 'clean' emotions is deeply cathartic. On the other side of it is profound acceptance and a release of suffering.
For help to release suffering, please schedule a free coaching consultation.