When we’re in a bad place, we have a choice.
We can distract ourselves to lessen the pain. Temporarily.
Or we can take action to alleviate the pain. Permanently.
Most of us choose to distract ourselves. In a shopping mall, with shiny new things we don’t need. With food, usually unhealthy salty and sugary snacks. With drink, whatever takes our fancy. With drugs, ‘legal’ and otherwise. With work, the longer the hours, the better. With sex, not intimacy.
I used to be a master of self-distraction. Work was my chosen poison. I would take on complex projects with impossible deadlines and bury myself in them. The more hours I spent at and on work, the fewer there were left to do anything other than eat and sleep.
This approach worked for me for years… until, one winter’s day, I imploded. There was simply no more space inside me to bury the pain. I knew I had to make a decision.
I could either choose to distract myself more effectively and deeply (drugs and booze, anyone?).
Or I could choose to start alleviating the pain.
I chose the latter. I knew this was my only real choice if I wanted to be healthy and happy. Which I did.
I looked at EVERY aspect of my life to see what needed to change to get to the root cause of the pain.
I took action, and started to make the changes in my life that needed to be made.
I found my path out of the pain. And continue to work on it, every day.
Here are some things that have helped me and others work through our pain.
- Find solace in nature. Nature just allows you to be, with no judgement and no expectations. It gives unconditionally. There is such peace to be found in nature that it can only help you to find the peace within you. Nature is the gift that keeps on giving.
- Find solace in friends. Your true friends are a bit like nature. You feel held and supported when you are with them. If you don’t feel this, they are not true friends.
- Find solace in meditation. A meditation practice helps you get out of your head and into your heart. And your heart is a much kinder place to be! When you find the type of meditation that works for you, it’s another gift that keeps on giving.
- Find solace in animals. Animals have much to teach us about how to live fully in the moment. And this is the secret of happiness. You can walk a dog along the same route every day and he will never get bored. For him, the route is new every day, it’s full of experiences (smells, tastes, sights, sounds, sensations) that weren’t there the day before.
- Find solace in therapy. Therapy can really help some people get to the point where these other forms of solace really work. The key is finding a therapist who fully resonates with you.
Distracting ourselves is NEVER the answer to feelings of pain. Distraction is denial and ALWAYS leads to more and deeper pain.
We should choose to grow, to alleviate the pain permanently. This is the ONLY route to happiness. Such personal growth isn’t easy. It takes courage, diligence and patience.
And you’re worth it.
Image credit: Sarah Blick