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Pain (Emotional)

“Our minds seek to release and resolve emotional pain. God created us this way. We have a natural leaning towards healing that which is fallen and broken. This work can seem intimidating, but there is an end result which consists of resolution, closure, and peace. The actual act of discovering the source event of the pain in our lives alone can bring some relief. We then allow ourselves to talk about it, write about it, shed the tears, acknowledge and validate what we went through, allow ourselves empathy, understand how it has affected our present life. Our mind is then ready to let it go. This is just how it works.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“When we suppress uncomfortable feelings, this is often because we have assumed (perhaps unconsciously) that they represent a threat to our well-being, a parenthesis in God’s plan for us. But as St. John Chrysostom shared with St. Olympia, God is big enough to include even our painful feelings within His plan. He is even big enough to receive and work with our anger, frustration, and laments.” (Ruth Van den Broek)

“…any type of emotional or physical pain can bring spiritual benefit when approached in the right way…The problem with suppressing painful emotions is that it only makes them stronger. We can end up converting them into other emotions like anger, resentment, or worry…treat your painful feelings with the same hospitality you would show to a friend who came to you with painful emotions….By noticing how your emotions are affecting your thoughts, you can treat those thoughts as something outside yourself and let them go. Just because a thought pops into your head doesn’t mean you have to believe it. Common thoughts associated with painful emotions include “This is going to last forever” or “These feelings will adversely affect the quality of my life…Stop and ask yourself how you would respond to a friend who comes to you in pain. I assume you would not respond to your friend by saying, “Stop feeling that!” Nor would you try to numb away your friend’s feelings by encouraging her to keep busy and distracted. Instead, you would make yourself completely present to your friend and her experience. You would receive her difficult feelings with an open heart. What if you showed the same hospitality toward your own difficult emotions?” (Robin Phillips)

“One of the ways people who have experienced traumatizing events begin to find healing from symptoms like flashbacks and nightmares is by learning to retell the story of their traumatic encounters in a safe environment. This helps them move from involuntarily reexperiencing the emotional pain of the event to connecting the memory with supportive listeners and a larger framework of meaning. It helps them see the trauma as one episode in their larger life story rather than as defining their identity.” (Makoto Fujimura)

“We can think we follow Jesus, but if we are not willing to share in someone else’s pain we are far from Him despite how much we go to Church, how much we pray, and how much money we give. He condescended to us through Mary and entered fully into our human pain and suffering. He shared and continues to share our pain through love. We often avoid the pain of others, especially emotional pain, because it is too painful for us. But pain avoidance is love avoidance. It’s hard to take on someone else’s pain, especially the pain of a loved one. It can strip us of everything, and take from us our peace and joy. Yet to willingly enter into the experience of their pain, to share it with them, to love them through it and be at their side as we suffer with them, is when we are most like Christ and He gives us His strength to get through it.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


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