The Agony of Being Stuck in Emotional Pain

Why do you pretend you are fine while your soul is screaming for help? The forced smiles, out of body laughter, the meaningless conversations through inner tears are all a testimony of your pain. The pain you’ve been living with for so many years.

You have been unable to muster the courage to do something about this pain. So you are still here, stuck in a haze of regret, resentment and wishful thinking. You are hurting to protect others from feeling the way you do.

Hiding the pain

Sometimes you dream of the life you would have had if your choices didn’t lead you here. Other times you wish you could stand up and say “enough”. But you can’t, you won’t, because the price of your happiness comes at the cost of disappointing the people you love the most. So you stay. You remain stuck in this pain that may never go away.

You know you have so much potential and you deserve better. Happiness is within your reach, yet you won’t grab for it because you are so used to your pain. It has become a part of who you are and you’ve accepted it. Maybe living in pain is your destiny.

No one knows how much you’re hurting. You’re doing a very good job at hiding it. But in those moments when you are all by yourself, you confess. You confess to yourself how much being stuck in this pain hurts. And you look at yourself in the mirror and cry. The tears stream down your face, each one of them telling a bit of your life’s story.

being stuck in pain

Peace and harmony

There are actually two stories. The story you’ve been told about yourself, and the story you know about yourself. Sometimes you believe one, other times the other. And sometimes, you believe both. You are lost in your stories. But on the surface, you have it all figured out. You keep it all together for the sake of peace and harmony.

You have been a people pleaser your entire life. While you’ve gotten pretty good at not trying to please everyone, there are still a handful of people you avoid disappointing at all costs. And you’re doing so because you are aware of your own scars. You don’t want to disturb the sand on the bottom of the sea, or the water will turn murky. So you let it be. You allow it to maintain it’s clear blue beauty on the surface.

Repeating history

You have repeated the history you ran away from. The history you are denying to yourself you’ve repeated. However, if you look closer you will be able to see all the mistakes which led you here. You can trace back the wrong turns you took, and rewrite history, but you won’t change it. And this is what’s holding you back, the inability to change the choices which led to broken dreams.

Even now, you are choosing to tell yourself lies about things that will never change. And you worry about the cost you’re paying for accepting these lies. Yet you choose to live with them and foolishly hope one day they will transform into the reality you long for. Until then, you’ll be right here, stuck in your pain.

Your imagination is so rich. You’ve lived your ideal life in your mind so many times and it feels right and peaceful. You’re a dreamer, yet you know most dreams never become reality. It’s life’s way. So carry on with your pain and do your best to leave it undisturbed. It’s the safe way.

Remember, life is short. Are you willing to die with regrets? I hope you’ll be able to answer this question before it’s too late.

I will leave you with the top five regrets dying people have as listed in the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, by Bronnie Ware.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.


Read next: Defeat Fear Of Change: Find Happiness

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let go of resentment

Resentment Ruins Relationships: How to Forgive

Resentment stems from the unwillingness to show empathy first. If you give in and forgive first, you may be perceived as weak. So you do your best to prove your partner wrong and hold onto the resentment. And everytime you get into an argument you make sure to remind your partner of past mistakes, which you claim to have forgiven. But have you truly forgiven and moved past disappointment?

The right way to forgive and move past an unfortunate event in your relationship is to never bring it up in a present situation. Nothing good comes out of reminding your partner of past failures, or mistakes. You may think it serves as a reminder of the compassion you displayed when you forgave them, but it doesn’t. It leads to dead-end conversations and it deepens resentment. If you remained in a relationship after a negative event, then, by default, you agreed to forgive. So you might as well do it the right way.

There are four things you can do to ensure your forgiveness benefits everyone involved, and saves your relationship from a slow, painful death.

1. Label the baggage you bring into the relationship

It’s important to be aware of the baggage you bring into a relationship, and understand how it contributes to the way you deal with conflict. Sometimes, emotional scars from previous relationships leave us more sensitive to certain words and situations. As a result, you are more likely to overreact in a trigger moment.

Whenever you leave conflict unresolved you are feeding resentment. So learn as much as you can about what triggers resentment for you, and if the events that cause it are truly as severe as you believe they are. When you minimize the gravity of a situation you have an easier time forgiving.

2. Be mindful of unrealistic expectations

A lot of times the expectations we have of our partners are so high we wouldn’t be able to meet them. Be mindful of your rules, requirements, and why you’re implementing them. Is it due to past relationship disappointments? Are they a product of your upbringing? And would you forgive yourself if you broke those rules? Figure out why you tend to hold your partner to such high standards. Take a moment to assess yourself, and if you do not meet those standards, then it’s time to lower them. It will help greatly in the process of letting go of resentment and forgiving the right way.

3. Reminisce the positive side of the relationship

One of the most effective ways to let go of resentment is to focus your energy on happy memories. When resentment hits, make a conscious effort to counter your negative thoughts with positive ones. And whenever you overcome adversity as a couple, celebrate it and let go of grudges. Don’t hold them as reminders of each other’s shortcomings and flaws. The ability to let go is a key ingredient in keeping a relationship healthy and happy.

4. Address recurring fights

Recurring fights are your clues to deep rooted problems, which should be addressed. And resentment is the primary cause of these fights. When you leave past hurts unresolved they resurface, and they can turn a peaceful conversation into an argument. Before you know it, each partner is throwing hurtful words at the other in hopes of coming out the “winner”. But we all know fights within a relationship never yield a winner. The people involved are simply denting each others’ confidence and self-worth. And while so much effort is expended on proving the other person wrong, the relationship is nosediving.

Agree with your partner to have hostility free conversations that lead to resolution instead of anguish. The best way to do so is to remind each other along the way of the importance of staying cordial, and remain focused on the end result- complete forgiveness.

Reclaim happiness in your relationship. Start talking and healing old wounds. Forgive the right way, and don’t let resentment kill your relationship.

How forgiving are you? Take this forgiveness quiz created by forgiveness research pioneer Michael McCullough and his colleagues to find out.

Read next: 3 Signs Of A Toxic Relationship: How To Fix It

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reach emotional freedom

What Reaching Emotional Freedom Feels Like

I lived my entire life questioning if I am enough. Am I smart enough? Pretty enough? Capable enough? The constant need for acceptance and admiration paralyzed me. I would give up before I had even tried because the thought of failing to satisfy my thirst for approval terrified me. This mentality held me from pursuing dreams and following passions. It held me from reaching my full potential and it painted my world in the darkest colors. I desperately needed to reach emotional freedom.

Why do we allow others to decide our worth?

The biggest mistake anyone can make is to place their worthiness in other people’s hands. Yet we all do it one way or another. Perhaps it has to do with the way we are raised. We grow up learning our worth depends on intellectual capacity, grades, level of extroversion, beauty ideals and social class. Our worth is measured by the way others perceive us. And when we don’t fit into the ideal box we grow self-conscious, lose trust in our abilities and become the people others want us to be. The people who trudge their way to a job they hate, or stay in an unfulfilling relationship because they don’t believe they are valuable enough to deserve better.

emotional freedom

How do we break free from self-sabotage?

We break free from self-sabotage by silencing the voices that tell us we can’t. By breaking the ceilings you’re told are unbreakable and by looking inward to find your worth. Along the way you’ll learn, if you allow yourself to try, you have so much to offer.

When you let yourself think, feel and speak without fear of judgement or disapproval, you understand how valuable you are. As cliché as this may sound, there is only one “you” and comparing yourself to someone else is self-defeating. Your strengths are others’ weaknesses and vice versa. So don’t persuade yourself to believe you have nothing worthwhile to give.

How does one reach the “I am enough” state of mind?

I reached this state of mind when I understood I belonged to myself and I was unlike anyone else. And I believed I was enough when I stopped allowing others to define me or label me. Emotional, physical and intellectual beauty truly are in the eye of the beholder. So surround yourself with the people who see the beauty in your uniqueness. Strive to be the best version of yourself, but don’t attempt to change your core. Once you reach this state of mind, you are on your way to emotional freedom.

What does emotional freedom feel like?

Reaching emotional freedom helped me create a life I no longer dread. It taught me there is a better way to live life that doesn’t involve pity parties and helplessness. All you have to do is dare to think that emotional freedom is possible and take the first step to achieve it. Your first step will naturally lead to the next one, until you find your way out of whatever is holding you back.

Learning I was enough in my own unique way enabled me to let go of guilt, shame and anxiety. It showed me that it is possible to see the glass half full even when you’re deemed a pessimist. So I replaced the words “I can’t” with “I’ll give it a try” and it has changed my life in so many ways. I went from a perpetual complainer to a content and grateful person. And now, I am no longer simply existing, I am flourishing.

The takeaway

Live aware. Instead of trying so hard to fix your imperfections, embrace them. They may hold the answers to a life well lived. Whenever you face resistance, remind yourself that people’s opinions don’t define you. This is the only life you get, make the best of it.

“I am enough”- and so are you.

Here is a great Wellness Quiz: The 7 Dimensions of Wellness 

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps