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Getting Good at Feeling Pain

Insecurity, anxiety, sadness, depression, guilt, dread, heartache, fear, bitterness.

These are just some of the many painful feelings we all experience from time to time. They might even sneak up on us on a daily basis.

Feeling pain is inevitable, and it's actually never a problem. It is the way we respond to our feelings that either compounds our pain or allows us to move through it.

What do you do when you feel awful?

If you're like me, your first instinct is to numb away your pain by scrolling through social media, overeating, watching TV, or using whatever your distraction of choice is.

In other words, you try to shut the pain out.

It's human nature to do this. It's how I've dealt with my pain most of my life.

But I've learned there's a better way.

While it's often so tempting to try to suppress our pain when it arises, the only way to truly resolve it is to open up to it. Pain is our teacher. There is always a purpose for our feelings. If you pay attention, they can teach you what you value and what changes you should make moving forward.

Recently, a dear friend and I experienced some miscommunication and unmet expectations that left feeling resentful and hurt. When I've thought about our conflict since, I've felt extremely sad and have wanted to numb out with food (that's my buffer of choice ha). But instead, I've chosen to sit with my pain. I haven't resisted it, and I've compassionately asked myself what my feelings are trying to teach me. As I've opened up to the pain, I've realized that it is telling me that I deeply care about this friendship and it gave me some insight into steps I can take moving forward.

Our painful feelings are often trying to motivate us to take action. If you're feeling stressed, maybe they're trying to tell you to make more time for self-care. If you're feeling lonely, maybe they're trying to tell you to reach out to others for more connection. If you're feeling depressed, maybe they're trying to tell you that it's time to make a change in your career, relationship, etc .

When you allow yourself to feel pain, you open yourself up to learning things about yourself that you wouldn't otherwise.

Art by the beautiful Jess Macy of

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