Heartache and Hope

We all experience times in our life where we encounter pain. It could come from loss, grief, disappointment, rejection, neglect, and so many more places. Where does that hurt go? It’s human nature to minimize, escape, blame, compartmentalize, and desensitize it to stop feeling those difficult emotions at all cost. But what does it look like to lean in and feel it?

For those of us who have been unable to silence the heartache at one time or another may describe it as drowning when it comes unapologetically without our consent. It can be physical, which may take our breath away and induce a panic attack. It may come on mentally where intrusive thoughts overwhelm and take over. And it can affect us behaviorally where we find ourselves responding in self destructive and sabbatogging ways. If the pendulum swings and we find ourselves in a new, more resilient position, we can become even more vigilant about preventing those emotions from arising again.

However, over time, two things will inevitably happen if that pain isn’t processed. Think of our emotions behind a window. They innately are neither good nor bad. They are just indicators to help us navigate and communicate with our soul. But when we shut the window to that part of self, we are closed off from experiencing all emotions including joy, pleasure, connection, intimacy, and love. Our interpretation of the world around us can feel unsafe and misaligned. Eventually that pain will be screaming to be heard and may come out in unhealthy ways. The most common way includes self-protection and the inability to trust.

So what are some other options? Giving yourself a choice. Acknowledging that sometimes it’s just the very next small step that changes everything. Connection in a healthy relationship is one of those things that can become a life raft in the midst of a raging ocean. That raft can become a margin of hope. That hope can give strength to learn how to doggie paddle. This can give enough margin to come out of survival mode long enough to learn how to swim.

Here at Dr. Crawford’s office, we understand what it’s like to feel that drowning sensation. We also know what it feels like to grab hope and to let that paradoxical truth remain in the same space as the more difficult emotion so it can be seen, heard, felt, and healed. Humans are emotional beings. We are each individual and complex with a great capacity to grow and be restored. But what is unacknowledged will become a heavy anchor. Partnership with self is a key component. And having a trained comrade walk alongside you in this journey could make things a little easier. Particularly with ones who have braved the same path and come out on the other side successful. Still a little bloodied and bruised, but also so thankful for what was gained in the process.

Today’s application: Take 10 minutes a day to be intentional about noticing what is going on inside you. What are you feeling, thinking, sensing? Write down and acknowledge if there are any unmet needs that could be supported in this season.