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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Allowing Our Minds to Open Up

Monday, April 8, 2013

Allowing Our Minds to Open Up

"To win without risk is to triumph without glory" ~ Pierre Corneille

Someone reminded me of the above quote recently and we got to talking about winning in the psychic and spiritual sense: victory over our fears, doubts and negativity.  And the internal glory of a positive emotionally healthy life.

I have often written about practicing the ability to bear discomfort.  And practicing the ability to feel our feelings without self attack, without  hurting our bodies, our spirit and our relationships.  I have written about the importance of developing resiliency through emotional pain and that how we respond can make all the difference in our inner and our external worlds.  When we risk and win here, we do triumph with glory, in ways that quiet and true.

When we are in emotional pain, in transition in our lives, or we have become used to living with a certain combination of internal pressure and mindless survival,  we can lose sight of the idea that there is a better way to function, a better way to live.

People often come to therapy during a time of crisis or transition.  Sometimes for support, sometimes to unpack the pain and get curious about what has led to it, contributed to it and how to get relief.
There is always a process of course, unique and individual, but I think that the real change happens when we risk allowing our minds to be open not just to how we are feeling and the human nature of our character , but to what we can and are willing to do  to shift how we think.

For many folks, negative fear based thinking is a default setting because they have needed it to survive, to protect themselves from difficult circumstances.  For others it's what was modeled for them early in life.  There comes a time, though, when what seemed to have helped us cope in the past, no longer serves us well.  Shifting our thinking can feel risky emotionally, but the benefits are many.

The risk then includes not just practicing the ability to bear discomfort, but practicing the ability to bear comfort.  We have to get used to the idea that it's okay to be okay.  That when the crisis passes, when the transition is fading into a new normal, we may feel somewhat better but we still have work to do.  There is more to be won.

And that work is to continue our self discovery, to find out what lights us up, what opens us up to creativity and meaning and a life well lived.

(Radu Razvan Gheorghe | Dreamstime Stock Photos photo credit)

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