Far too often we run away from our emotions and our pain. We think that if we touch it we will get burned. That if we feel that pain, we will somehow find ourselves lost down the rabbit hole with no way out. That's the lie we've been taught about our emotions. That we must avoid them at all costs or we will wind up living in a darkness that we cannot find our way out of.

We are taught that when we are feeling negative emotions, sadness, fear, anger, discontentment, that we are mentally unhealthy, that something is wrong with us. We are also taught that when we are feeling positive emotions such as joy, passion, or excitement that we are mentally healthy and sound. This is simply not the truth and if you've ever run across a person having a manic episode, you'll know that their elevated state is certainly not mentally healthy. Likewise, if you've ever run across a person who has just lost someone and they are emotionally stoic instead of grieving, something just isn't right.

The reality is that the emotions we avoid and the pain we are holding within us that we turn a blind eye to are the weights that keep us from rising to the surface for a breath of fresh air. One of the most critical parts of healing is releasing those weights, and that release often means finally feeling those emotions and the pain that we've been putting off for sometimes decades. This is part of the process of healing, and it can certainly be challenging. Healing is never easy because it requires movement. Complacency and the status quo lead to stagnation, and when we sit in our emotional muck for long enough, it does eventually become unbearable. We eventually have to move. Just like when we haven't been to the gym for quite some time, moving emotions for the first time is uncomfortable, but the more we stick with it and the more we work at it, the more growth we will see and the less pain we will feel.

When we let ourselves feel and express our pain, it leaves us for good. It's an emptying of the cup. Our emotions are not who we are, they are simply tools to show us where we need to do our work. Our old repressed emotions are just a backlog of files in the inbox that need to be cleared out. When we catch up on our backlog of work, moving forward and addressing our emotional challenges in the present becomes far easier.

When your pain is triggered, when it begins to well up inside you, feel it. Let it rise to the surface. The day you finally allow yourself to feel your pain, you will know for a fact that having those emotions is not weak, for you have to be strong enough to allow yourself to face them and that is no easy task. Remind yourself that you are not sliding backwards. As you face and release old emotions, know that you are on an upward spiral that dips down ever so slightly so that you can rise higher and higher. Know that as you address that old pain, that you are stronger and wiser now than you were when that pain entered your life. You have the wisdom and strength now to handle it, to release it, to understand it.