Healing Is Doing the Emotionally Challenging Work

Healing Is Doing the Emotionally Challenging Work healing
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

When I first started this journey, one piece of advice that really got me going was that doing emotionally challenging work is where growth happens. Even when it comes to making decisions and you’re stuck not knowing what to do, focus on the one that is emotionally challenging. I began using that simple principle, and life started to feel lighter and lighter.

By “emotionally challenging,” it simply means confronting those emotions you’ve been avoiding or facing the truth of the situation you’re in. It’s often unfamiliar territory that you’ve always steered clear of and never really explored.

These are the tough questions that might even provoke anger when someone asks about them or when you read about them. They stir difficult feelings inside you, and you might prefer to do the comfortable or less emotionally taxing thing, like distracting yourself or numbing those emotions.

You’ve likely been doing this unconsciously, and your whole life has become an avoidance of emotionally challenging work. When you ignore your emotional baggage or postpone dealing with it to a future date, it’s like ignoring a leaky roof — sure, you don’t have to fix it now, but eventually, that ceiling is coming down.

So, what’s the best-case scenario? It’s learning and leaning more towards the emotionally challenging work. By leaning into that discomfort, you’re actually overcoming or releasing the discomfort.

Every time you sit with a painful or difficult emotion instead of running from it, you’re telling your brain, “Hey, I can handle this. I am an adult now and I am emotionally mature” And slowly by slowly, you build the emotional mastery or resilience to weather any kind of storm.

It’s like when you’re working out. The first couple of times you hit the gym, it’s extremely brutal.

Your muscles scream, you’re out of breath, and you wonder why the hell you’re putting yourself through this. You just want to quit even before you start. But if you stick with it? Those same exercises that once left you ‘gasping for air’ become easier and easier. You get stronger. And before you know it, you’re lifting weights you never thought possible.

Emotional resilience works almost the same way. Each time you face a difficult feeling or emotion, each time you process a painful or traumatic memory instead of suppressing it, you’re building that emotional muscle.

You’re rewiring your brain to understand that you can handle emotionally challenging situations that arise in your life, and you’re convincing it that facing these emotions is easier than bottling them up.

And here’s the beautiful part: on the other side of that emotional challenging work is freedom which you’re secretly seeking. It’s not in the sky or some afterlife which you don’t know about, it’s in you doing the emotionally challenging work.

It’s the kind of feeling where you’re not always worried about something bad happening next. You can fully enjoy the good times because you’re not constantly afraid of the bad times.

So, I’m challenging you. The next time you feel the urge to distract yourself, to numb out, or to run away from a difficult emotion — pause. Take a deep breath. Ask yourself: “What if I just sat with this feeling for a minute?” It won’t be easy.

Your mind will feed you worst-case scenarios or come up with distractions like “Let me read more about a technique to help me let go of this.” When that happens, focus on that thought or ask yourself “then what?”

Keep questioning those worst-case scenarios until your mind has exhausted those conscious conclusions or justifications. Then, allow yourself to simply feel it. It might feel excruciating at first, but it’s so worth it in the end.

In conclusion, when you choose facing the discomfort or facing the emotionally challenging work, you’re choosing growth. You’re choosing you and you’re choosing life where you’re no longer held back by the past.

Remember, healing isn’t a straight line, and you’ll definitely experience setbacks. There will be days where it feels like you’re right back where you started or where you feel like you haven’t made any progress.

But as long as you’re doing the emotionally challenging work of facing your feelings, you’re moving forward even when it doesn’t seem like it. Just keep at it; there’s no other way out. That’s the only key to liberation, and the only one who can do it is you — the same person who’s been avoiding the work.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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