Let go of pain. We’ve all heard the statement because it’s one of the most common pieces of advice around. Of course, it’s well-intentioned and great in principle, but how exactly are we supposed to go about that?
Emotional pain is like a massive weight bearing down. It’s a dark burden and the last thing anyone truly appreciates when they are suffering is hearing advice from others who have no concept of how it feels. To be told to let go of your pain is like being told to let go of cancer. It can’t be shrugged off and it can feel like the person giving the advice is trivialising your emotions. In fact, many people feel uncomfortable around the discomfort of others. We all understand this and sometimes, to make them feel better and to close down the comments, we smile, we say we’re on the mend, but behind closed doors, the agony persists.
Let Go of Pain
So how do we go about releasing the pain that comes from rejection or loss? First, we need to accept the pain. At face value, this sounds silly because, after all, surely we’re accepting the pain because we’re experiencing it? But, experience and acceptance are not the same things. Accepting the pain is the first step to letting go. Don’t resist it, don’t push it to the background and repress it, let it in.
Yes, it’ll hurt, yes it sucks, yes you wish it would all just go away! Taking pain in might be hard, and it might unleash a lot of emotions for you, however, once you have accepted it, you can start to move on.
Counter The Pain
One of the easiest ways to let go of pain is to simply forget that it exists. I know this sounds counter to what’s just been said but bear with me. As with many things in life, it’s important to cut yourself some slack. Emotional pain clings. It can be all-consuming and can reach the point where people feel guilty about letting it go. Yet, at some point, a little voice in the background alerts you to the fact that things can’t go on like this and they have to change. Accepting this is a significant step in its own right.
It might be hard, but try to do something enjoyable, even if it’s for 10 minutes. Listen to music, call up a friend, eat a good meal. Try to change your environment for a time. Go for a walk.
Self-medicate with alternatives to pain. Even in short-sharp bursts, you’ll be helping yourself. It will be hard to reduce the weight of pain on your shoulders, but you don’t need to worry about taking it all out in one go. Instead, you just need to do one thing, one small thing, and pretty soon you’ll build a habit. You’ll also get more and more joy out of the activities as well until that’s all you feel.
Pain thrives whenever we are isolated. Talking about your pain with a trusted family member, friend, or a professional therapist can help you process it and might even give you someone to turn to whenever you really need to talk.
Having a support network of friends can help you deal with your pain, and they can also eventually help you let it go once you feel better. There’s nothing like a connection with people who care for you whenever you want to focus on your own health. Pretty soon your experience of pain becomes less all-consuming. You gain perspective. You may never lose the memories that invoked pain, but at least they are more contained.
Restructure The Memory
Whenever we focus on a painful memory, the pain associated with it often comes back to haunt us. So instead of fighting the memory or the circumstances, you need to make sure that you can restructure the bad memories with something different. If you’ve lost a loved one, for example, there will come a time when some of the good times counterbalance the pain of loss. Grab hold of these and develop them. If your loved one could talk to you, they’d want you to look back at the good times and remember the joy that came with them.
If you can’t replace the memory, maybe try to build a habit around something you can do when you feel the pain start to well back up. Maybe whenever you think of that memory you can play a song or say a mantra to keep the pain out and replace it with whatever the action is. Pretty soon, the action will overtake the pain and you won’t feel it.
Finally, the last thing to really remember is that pain is not permanent. Eventually, it will subside. You just need to make sure you are letting the pain go when the time comes to do so, and not holding onto it because you can’t envision a life without it.