Well, emotional growth is very similar. Sometimes in life we go through things that are difficult and may be very painful. Whether it be a fight with a friend or family member, a divorce or breakup, a loss, or any other painful situation, there is always something that can be gained from every situation. The hardest times let us have the opportunity to search inside ourselves for the strength and resiliency to get through it, and hopefully to come out of it a better person than we were before.
It can be much easier to just try to bury your feelings, tell everyone that you're okay, and try to ignore the situation and just move on. If you're doing this, however, you're missing out on a great opportunity to grow as a person. Whether it means learning a lesson about yourself, your behavior, or others, something can always be gained. The pain that you're feeling could mean that a chord has been struck in you, indicating that this is a sensitive area that should be looked at further. It could mean that you are experiencing a "fight or flight" response and protecting yourself from perceived danger of some sort, whether realistic or not. Ignoring your emotions can be harmful to your health because you may be suppressing feelings that need to be expressed or communicated. At times, letting yourself "feel the burn" of your emotions can simply mean getting through a difficult time even if there is no opportunity for a change, such as when a loved one passes away. You can still learn how to cope in a healthy way so that you will not have negative long-term consquences, and maybe next time you will feel empowered to get through the pain a little bit easier. Similar to feeling the physical pain of exercising, you may feel worse before you feel better when you decide to face your emotions and fears. In the end, however, you come out much stronger and capable of facing whatever gets thrown your way.
The next time you are experiencing emotional pain, ask yourself these questions to make sure that you benefit from the experience rather than either getting stuck in your pain or stunting your emotional growth.
- Am I telling everyone around me that I am "Okay" but then feeling upset or crying in private?
- Am I trying to bury myself with tons of distractors, such as booking every spare minute with social events, or working extra hours as to have little time alone?
- Have I been drinking more than usual? Using substances to numb my feelings and escape?
- Have I been sleeping more than usual?
- Am I getting irritable towards others and taking out negative feelings on others without actually communicating to them what is bothering me?