One of the most profound things I’ve ever heard came from a colleague when I lived in New York City. I’d been in recovery for a couple of years at that point, but I was struggling hard with figuring out how to deal with my emotions. I had a pretty painful childhood, and suffice it to say that I did not go into my adult years armed with the skills necessary to be a well adjusted member of society.
On a particularly hard day, my colleague said, “Pain exists for a reason; if you ignore it and cover it up, it keeps coming back until you get the message. How do you think you’re going to heal it if you aren’t willing to feel it?“
When I picked my jaw up off the floor, I saw myself in her statement and understood that the thing that was holding me back was my unwillingness to sit with my feelings and find out what they were there to teach me. The message that day wasn’t just about my addiction, it was far more universal than that. If you find yourself in a cycle of pain, repeating behaviors that keep hurting you, I want you to remember that if you want to heal it, you have to feel it.
And never forget that I love you.