Recognising Pain In Our Emotional Bodies

Updated: Feb 23, 2019

"I'm sorry that I ever made you feel there was something wrong with you."

A man spoke these words to his ex-fiance in a movie I watched last night called "Nappily Ever After" - everyone interested in self love should watch this movie, by the way;) Since their breakup she had gone through lots of awakening emotions which led her to shaving her head. She had beautiful, healthy, afro hair and had spent her whole life straightening it in an effort to be perfect for a man. The moral of the story was:



Watching this movie I was in a stable place emotionally, it was about an hour in and then he spoke those words. I had an unannounced visceral reaction. Suddenly, my chest got tight, my throat choked and a tear welled up in my left eye...then my right. I had no warning.

My emotional body, my pain body had been holding on to something that wanted to be released, that wanted to be healed. I was unconscious to this need prior to this moment but this is how healing works, once you've opened the door, experiences that need to be healed will arise when the time is right. From a logical mind perspective the time may seem inopportune but don't follow your head, follow your body...your head is likely how the feelings became suppressed to begin with;)

A few years ago I was very "in my head", I lacked the emotional awareness to notice this reaction at all, let alone understand that it meant some past experience was was stuck in my body and needed to surface. So rather than reach for a distraction from the discomfort I was experiencing (ie a sip of wine, check facebook, or start a conversation with my brother who was at the table next to me), I welcomed it.

I allowed the sensations to come up without trying to control them, I stayed curious, I asked internally, "what am I feeling right now?, where am I feeling it?" And starkly clear memories of trying to be the perfectly pretty woman for my ex came up...and then memories of doing the same for the ex before him.

I was feeling shame, it was in my chest (Anahata chakra) and in my throat (Vissudhi chakra). I listened to my inner voice.

She told me:

"Forgive yourself for having spent so many years trying to be perfect for your exes. Forgive yourself for having to remind yourself that you don't have to be perfect to attract the right man, it is just your conditioning that says you have to be perfectly pretty, it is not you and it is not them."

I let the tears fall, I followed my breath, I felt grief leave my body and after about 15 to 20 minutes I felt lighter. The two relationships I was reminded of ended in 2009 and 2013, I had been carrying this pain that long and was unconscious to it weighing down my spirit.

Why Do We Distract From Our Body's Emotional Response?

We suppress our emotions and ignore our visceral reactions because we were never taught how to recognise and process them. Most of us were taught to ignore our painful emotions because it was painful for our parents to see us having them, so to alleviate their own pain they distracted us, in turn teaching us to distract ourselves when emotional discomfort arises.

Also, emotional triggers can catch us off guard and be embarrassing if we are with company or in public.

It's not social practise to say, "excuse me guys, I have just been triggered and need some quiet space to process this." Or, "I am suddenly experiencing emotions, can we talk about it so I can make more sense of what I am feeling?"

I have been doing this work for years and sometimes still have to pause and seek within to register that my uncomfortable feelings are a triggered emotional wound.

So How Can You Heal Your Emotional Wounds When Triggered?:

  1. PAUSE - when emotions arise. Say to yourself, "I am feeling emotions, this is okay."

  2. FIND SPACE - find yourself some quiet, excuse yourself from the party, you can return after. Once you get in the practise of processing your triggered emotions you can return to neutral quite quickly.

  3. WELCOME & ALLOW - say to yourself, "I welcome all my emotions and all these sensations without judgment."

  4. BE CURIOUS - ask your heart/body "what am I experiencing right now? how do I feel? in what part of my body am I feeling this?" Ignore your head telling you you are being silly or childish or that this isn't the right time.

  5. RELEASE - cry and cry some more if that's your response, journal or scream as loud as you can. However it wants to come out is right, so long as you are not hurting anyone else, of course.

Remember, trapped emotions cannot dissolve unless you allow them to rise. Healing cannot take place unless you create space for it. And there are numerous studies out there which prove unprocessed trauma and emotions manifest in illness and dis-ease, which if you are reading my blog, I suspect you are trying to avoid;)

So I am writing this with hopeful tears in my eyes that everyone will get the chance in this life to heal their emotional's my promise to continue to share and hopefully inspire others to choose the courageous path of healing and be a support for those who do.

As always, with love,


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