Numbing yourself to emotional pain only causes more problems in the long run. Learn to work with all of your emotions for a happier, healthier you.
Distraction is one of the many strategies we use to distance ourselves from emotional pain. Why? Because it is a great tactic that helps us to manage discomfort by diverting our attention or creative energy to something external, so we do not feel the pain within. We learn this subconscious conditioning from our environment. We inherit our parents, family members, ancestors, friends, and society’s beliefs, habits, patterns, emotional reactions, and attitudes. We record, store, and repeat these mostly without awareness from birth through our developmental stages into adulthood. This is how the subconscious programs become ours.
According to neuroscientists, the subconscious or habitual mind, which is ninety percent of the mind and influences us ninety-five percent of the time, stores subconscious programs—habits, beliefs, patterns. The other ten percent is the conscious mind, the mind of free will where we create and manifest our dreams, purpose, and goals. The subconscious mind stores programs that automatically re-create experiences, behaviors, and actions in ways that do not serve us. Since the subconscious mind is not visible to us, we do not even notice what it’s doing most of the time, and that lack of awareness is why we get stuck. (Let us not make the mistake of thinking that we should get rid of the subconscious mind, however, otherwise we should have to learn to walk or brush our teeth every day.)
One of those old, memorized, vicious cycles is numbing. We resist pain because, of course, it is uncomfortable. Tara Brach says, “When we are in emotional pain, we can feel it in our body, you cannot separate them.” And since we feel pain in our body because emotions affect our physiology, chemistry, anatomy, nervous system, and more, and because we have learned that pain is bad and must be avoided at all costs, we resist it. One way we do so is by anesthetizing ourselves.
Patterns of dealing with pain repeat themselves automatically functioning on autopilot most of the time. We are incapable of recognizing when we are operating like robots. However, we can change those subconscious programs and conditioning through developing, practicing, and cultivating self-awareness. Dr. Joe Dispenza says, “If you become aware of your automatic habits and you are conscious of your unconscious behaviors…you cannot go unconscious again.”
Maybe we witness our colleagues, friends, and acquaintances and feel inadvertently pressured into using the same unconscious strategies because we conclude that this is how everybody handles discomfort. However, I know that every time I allow myself to follow this path, I feel like I am betraying myself. A powerful sense of emptiness follows when I choose to play the fool, and now that I am training myself to live in authenticity, I can recognize that numbing myself only leads to more pain.
Now, I choose to feel everything. But, I do it because I have a toolbox. Self-awareness and self-talk are two powerful tools that help us recognize what we are trying to hide and to listen to our inner wisdom. Also, it is essential to intentionally integrate mind and heart because we mostly live in the logic, leaving out the potent intelligence of our energetic heart center.
I encourage you to contemplate whether you would rather keep numbing yourself or choose to alchemize and transform pain into an ally. Self-examination is a powerful instrument that can help you recognize the underlying resistance to distress and let go of limiting patterns, habits, and beliefs.
Here are a few questions to get you started on this journey:
- How does numbing help me?
- Am I aware that numbing only hides my pain?
- Do I trust myself to let go of numbing?
- Am I capable of connecting with my inner strength and self-love, so I feel empowered to choose self-awareness?
- Am I aware of my subconscious programming so I can choose other ways?
- Have I had enough of living disconnected?
There are no right or wrong answers, only honest answers. If, after asking yourself these questions, you realize that you are ready to work on regaining your inner power through developing the habit of self-reflection, I invite you to consider 1 Minute of Self-Reflection. This tool can help you, among other things, recognize what is limiting you, live in the present, pause to recognize emotions, feelings, thoughts, and through them your subconscious programs.
Once you train yourself to identify old ways, you can choose to change them. In doing so, you are creating new neural paths that support your authentic path. Humanity is going through a phase of profound transformation, which means that we have to navigate change, and that is not easy for most of us and causes us pain, primarily because we are trained to resist it instead of working with it. Emotions are considered the primary drivers of wellbeing, but we are not prepared to handle intense, disturbing emotions consciously…quite the opposite.
It is essential to develop, practice, and cultivate a set of skills that helps people use emotional data to build the life they envision for themselves and humanity. Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that help people navigate life’s challenges at all times. 1 Minute of Self Reflection is an invaluable tool based on emotional intelligence, neuroscience, and mindfulness and that supports our effort to build wellbeing and the habit of self-awareness. Life is challenging, but self-aware people can make conscious choices, and one of them is to stop numbing ourselves.
Can you see how powerful this path is? Can you embrace it?