Why Feel Pain?

Honestly, I think it is natural for us to shy away from pain. There are not many people who say, “Pain? Sure, sign me up!” But we were born with a full range of emotions from joy to despair. In Happiness 101 we help students to become mindful of the large and small decisions that contribute to their unhappiness and invite them to make a conscious decision about what they want to do to feel better. This is however not to say that we should always expect to be happy. There are times that it is natural to feel upset, angry or sad. The go-to example I use often is grief. As a therapist, if someone close just passed away and the person before me is smiling broadly and telling me “I’m fine” – I would be very concerned. Some of the natural feelings that go along with grief are shock, anger, sadness and, yes, sometimes happiness. This is a natural process we go through to heal. As someone who has gone through the grieving process, I can tell you that on the other side of all that sadness you will have the ability to feel happy, warm feelings again when thinking of your loved one. So, why feel pain? Paradoxically, you feel pain to get past the pain. The cost of not allowing yourself to go through the natural process is high. “The symptoms of unresolved grief are numerous, including but not limited to: over-activity, having the symptoms of the deceased, psychosomatic (imagined and possibly created) illnesses, drastic changes in social network, hostility towards people connected with the death, self-sabotage, severe depression, suicidal tendencies, over-identification with the deceased, and/or phobias about illness or death.” Also, it is impossible to cut off the “bad” emotions, without effecting the “good” emotions. Therefore if you bury your feelings, you bury the “good” with the “bad”. Over the years, I have met many people who have attempted to avoid the grieving process – always to their detriment. I have met several such people lately. To help, I offer the Unresolved Grief Group. This group will gather on the first Wednesday of each month at 7pm. The first group is Wednesday, March 3rd. This is a closed group, meaning that once the group has been established, new people will not be allowed to join. This will give group members an an opportunity to really get to know one another and build trust. Under some circumstances we may allow a newcomer to join for the 2nd gathering of the group (April 7th). If you are interested in joining us, please let me know sooner than later. 877-476-6338
Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor

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