There are many different types of emotional pain and in many ways they can be a lot harder to deal with than pain that is physical.
Many of us prefer to block out painful emotions, or push them under the surface and put on a front to show the world that we’re ok.
But simply burying the emotions that cause us pain isn’t a solution. By doing this, those feelings fester in the background and at some point, will fissure out, in a show of temper or a bout of depression, or even in a destructive act of self-harm. Instead of avoiding emotional pain and hoping it will just go away, the best solution is always to confront the causes head on and find a way to move forward.
Below we take a look at six causes of emotional pain and possible ways to deal with them.
Guilt can affect us all in different ways, and that’s because it comes from within us. Your guilt may be caused if you feel you have done something wrong to someone else or that because your life is ok and others close to you have had to face hardship, even when their situation is not of your doing. There’s a saying that guilt is a wasted emotion and there’s a lot of truth in that. To deal with guilt, you have to apologise to the person you have wronged or accept that you cannot control other people’s destinies and forgive yourself for being ok when others are not. Feeling guilty does not help you, or the people you may be feeling guilty about.
There are many kinds of rejection – it may be in a personal relationship or in a professional context. It can be a minor snub like a friend not phoning you back or cancelling on you, or something major like a relationship break-up. Whatever form it takes, rejection can have a detrimental effect on anyone and make them question their self-worth. But don’t focus on the rejection, instead increase your value of self-worth by thinking about your strengths, spend time with other people so you don’t feel lonely and understand that rejection will occur at different times in life, and when it does you just have to keep moving on.
Unfortunately, grief is something we will all have to deal with at some point in our lives. While we may never fully ‘get over’ the death of someone close to us, time does eventually help us to live without that person. Most people will go through the five stages of grief in their path from the immediate shock of a bereavement through to eventual acceptance. The important thing with grief is to not bury or quash your emotions; instead reach out for support – either from a professional counsellor or from friends and family to see you through this difficult time.
Feeling lonely can cause a great amount of emotional pain and the longer you spend not relating closely to other people, the harder it can be to shake the sensation off. Making new friendships or getting back in touch with old friends that you may have simply drifted away from become insurmountable hurdles. If you feel saddened by loneliness, it’s worth forcing yourself to participate in new social activities, even if it’s something you don’t particularly feel like doing. Getting through the first steps of meeting new people is always the most difficult, but the exciting thing is that with every new meeting, you might be opening up a whole new social circle.
We can all spend a lot of time thinking about and mulling over past events that have made us feel bad, but where does that kind of negativity get us? Spending too long thinking about mistakes or failures and going over them in your mind is not positive. Sure, you should learn from your mistakes, but then steel yourself to move on and use any bad experiences to provide you with motivation to succeed in other areas in life instead.
Life can’t always be a series of successes, and everyone is bound to fail at something now and then. However, when you don’t reach a goal, your self-esteem will often suffer and the hurt that you feel can be akin to that when you’ve been rejected. Gaining the support of those closest to you, and discussing how you feel about what you’ve failed to achieve, can help you put things into perspective. A friend or family member will be able to help you see the wood for the trees, and remember all the things that you’ve achieved, rather than just focusing on one failure. There’s also another way to look at failure. If something hasn’t worked out, does the world still turn, does life go on? Undoubtedly the answer is yes, so accepting the possibility of failure before it happens is another way to lessen the blow if and when you actually fail in the future.
Of course, there’s a common theme in dealing with any type of emotional pain. In each case you need to find a way to move away from the current status quo, whether that’s through acting and thinking differently or seeking the support of others. When you find yourself in emotional pain, whatever you do, don’t stay still and hold onto it. Take action so that you can move on.
Promoted in collaboration with: Psychology Today