Nobody wants to feel pain. We have countless ways of avoiding and escaping it. We can organize our whole life around avoiding pain we don’t want to feel. We use addiction, distraction, religion, performance, perfectionism, attention-seeking, and the list goes on and on and on.
There are consequences to this type of life. This type of life creates new pain.
We feel the new pain of hurting those we love and the new pain of losing ourselves. We feel the new pain of disconnection from our own hearts.
So, we try to stop the addiction or the performance or the perfectionism through commitment and self-control. And when we do those things, we fail. Then try. Then fail. Then try. Then fail. Then, at some point we realize all of this committing and controlling is pointless. It doesn’t work.
We need to find another way.
We realize the only way we can get free from the behaviors we loathe is to go back to the pain and heal it. When the pain is healed, there’s nothing to avoid. We can let go of our strategies.
We are healed from within.
This is why I’ve changed how I work with my clients. Instead of strategizing new ways to avoid the pain, I help my clients heal the pain. Using IFS, we heal the pain of childhood and/or religious trauma and release their sexual shame.
When the heart is healed, everything changes. When the heart is healed, we feel safe again.
May we all stop running from ourselves. May we get the skilled help we need to safely return to our pain and reconnect with our valuable, lovable, beautiful hearts again.
–Forest Benedict, LMFT