Maplewood Counseling

Coping with Painful Experiences

How to Manage

Do you Resist or Yield to Painful Experiences?

We all go through difficult experiences in our lives that can cause deep and intense physical or mental pain. Some struggle with the tragic death of a loved one, others a serious, chronic or terminal illness.  Then there are people that struggle with a child, spouse or parent struggling with issues, a very painful divorce or another catastrophic life event.

When things are so intense and painful that it makes sense (at least temporarily) to run from, resist and fight the reality of the situation. Even though nothing is permanent, it feels as though things will never change. It seems you’ll be stuck in this painful place forever when you are going through it. “This shouldn’t be happening”, blaming others or ourselves for where we are at. Many can feel stuck in anger, resentment, and bitterness, wanting to find ways to escape the painful experience. Running from the extreme discomfort can ultimately make us all suffer even more, turning damaging behaviors to avoid the painful reality of our situation.

“Not getting what you want, getting what you don’t want” quote from Pema Chodron in Coming Closer to Ourselves

We all have to face events like these at one time or another in our lives. It is a part of life and what it is to be human. Even therapists have to cope with tragedies, serious health issues, struggling family members and other painful life events. We all, unfortunately, suffer more when we run from the pain rather than finding ways to accept, allow and work with the emotions that come up. Accepting and allowing our experience can help us attain more wisdom and a deeper sense of compassion for one another.

It takes a tremendous amount of bravery to be open to and allow the experience, and accepting and working what is and trying not to make things worse.  Going through a catastrophic event that seems insurmountable?

It has been a tremendous help to me personally and professionally to read and listen to the following books and teachings of The New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle, When Pain is the Doorway by Pema Chodron,  Full Catastrophy Living by John Kabat-Zin, Wherever You Go You are There by John Kabat-Zin and a recent Facebook course on UDemy Freedom to Choose Something Different with Pem Chodron, Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better by Pema Chodron, Walking the Walk by Pema Chodron as well as other books.

These videos may be helpful to some…

“Not getting what you want, getting what you don’t want” quote from Pema Chodron in Coming Closer to Ourselves| Super Soul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network

We hope you find this information helpful.


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