I was recently on a call about racial justice during which several white people shared how the current climate has woken them up to their white privilege and what they’re doing about it. 

Afterwards, I reflected on my own need to prove I’m a “good person” by trying to be the perfect anti-racist. Many of us expressed a strong desire to jump straight into action.

This is bad. What can we do about it? Let’s fix it – now. 

(So we don’t have to feel it.)

Do you ever feel tempted to jump straight to action rather than sit with your own pain and discomfort? I do.

 

When my husband complains about something, my tendency is to go into “fix it” mode rather than give him the empathy and deep listening that soothes his stress.

Fixing is easier than feeling. 

Often, we run away from pain. But when we attempt to fix things without feeling, it’s an ineffective band-aid.

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If you’re anything like me, you’d rather run a marathon with a refrigerator strapped to your back than sit and feel all your pain.

Yet it is only by going down into and through our pain that we come out the other side with the depth of awareness needed for wise action.

Feeling your pain leads to true compassion and creative breakthroughs. 

Carrying that refrigerator on your back helps you realize what’s truly going to make things better. 

Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t teach us to feel our pain. 

Instead, we’re given a crash course in avoiding and running away from our pain at all costs. 

Advertisers are constantly promising us a “quick fix” to feel better. We’re sold distractions and diversions by the minute. Buy this product, get this gadget, get drunk or high, “lose ten pounds in ten days,” “7 easy ways to relieve stress.” 

We want the quick fix, and we want it now.

Lasting solutions can take longer to implement and integrate. We haven’t cultivated the patience, trust, resilience or ability to deal with ambiguity that’s required.

What if instead of grabbing the quick fix, we allowed ourselves to feel the pain and complexity of being human? What if we allowed ourselves to imagine the pain of others? How might this change our world?

Today I’d love to hear from you; In what ways are you trying to fix your life, or the world, as a way to avoid feeling the pain of it? How are you running away from discomfort? 

Ironic Alert: there’s a fix for fixing!
(and it takes less than 2 minutes…so it’ll satiate your desire for a quick fix. haha.)

Good news, it’s not as daunting as you think to feel your pain. All you need to do is set a timer for two minutes, and allow yourself to feel whatever you’ve been running away from. 

Just hold that refrigerator on your back for two minutes, trust me, you can do it!

Neuroscientists have shown that the physiological lifespan of an emotion in the body and brain is 90 seconds – less than two minutes! 

You just need to create a little space for your pain, make room for it, and begin to accept it’s presence. 

As you observe your emotions, you’ll recognize that you’re bigger than your feelings. You are the vast awareness that can track and observe these feelings. Remember this. Take deep breaths into any areas of tightness or pain and see if you can ride the waves of emotion, simply observing without judgment (Oh, anger. Oh, shame, Oh, sadness, etc. I see you. Thank you for joining me. All are welcome here.) *If you’ve had severe trauma, you may want to seek professional guidance.

Here’s a guided meditation to help you:

Self-Compassion is another great way to soothe yourself when you’re feeling pain. Here’s one of our most popular self-compassion meditations:

Feel your pain first. Pause. Then go into problem solving mode.

Notice how this process informs your actions going forward.  

When you feel the pain first, how does that change your response? If you don’t run straight to fixing something, but sit with the discomfort and complexity of the situation, what kind of creative solutions or gentle responses come up in you? 

I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a tendency to go straight into “fix it” mode? What helps you feel the pain and take wise action? Leave a comment below and let us know!

May you feel your pain and come through the other side with wisdom and compassion,

Vanessa

P.S. Have a friend or family member who’s having a hard time right now? (Aren’t we all?!) 

Share this blog with them, it could help lighten their load!

https://vanessaloder.com/are-you-avoiding-pain-me-too/

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