Stop for a Second: Listen to What Your Discomfort is Trying to Tell You
And we act like we don’t need to listen to, recognize, and accept the discomfort. Instead, we hide it or push it away because we can’t accept painful feelings.
We forget that some emotions sneak in and take up space. They make no noise but they’re full of information. Listening to them will help us recognize them and know ourselves better.
Remember that there are no good or bad emotions. We need each one to be able to appreciate our world and be ourselves.
But learning to listen to our emotions means having the ability to unconditionally accept what comes. We can’t judge anything or anyone, and we really have to learn to live in the present.
None of this is easy at all. So now we’ll show you how to accept discomfort and use mindfulness as a tool to live in the present.
The circumstances we’re stuck with, hard as they are, are just testing our ability to overcome them.
Listen to and Validate Your Emotions, They’re Part of you
Listening to, accepting, and validating our emotions doesn’t mean giving into reality. Giving in means letting yourself be defeated, and convincing yourself you can’t do anything about what’s happening.
On the other hand, accepting and validating what we feel will help us understand what’s happening. We’ll feel it and take it in as yet another part of our emotional universe.
This will make us conscious of the power our thoughts, emotions, and internal language have. Remember that anything we say or think (whether we communicate it to anyone or not), can harm us more than what’s actually happening. In fact, this damage will multiply when you refuse to accept what you feel.
You’ll surprise yourself at how beneficial it can be to listen to your discomfort. At a consultation, when we ask patients to pay attention to their emotions, there are often significant changes.
For example, I remember a patient who stopped trying to stop his anxiety attacks when he felt them. Then when they stopped he realized that anxiety came from the pain caused by the death of their child. Once he knew the source, the attacks lessened until finally disappearing.
The wisdom your emotions hide will be revealed the moment you listen to them and pay attention to your discomfort.
What we’ve applied to anxiety can also help us with other negatively charged emotions. These range from sadness to anger. Coexisting with them is hard, but that’s how they talk and you listen.
That’s why I’m passing along a simple idea. Let your painful emotions be with you. Listen to their message without trying to eliminate them early on. And if you feel overwhelmed by them, seek professional help.
Mindfulness as a Tool for Listening and Acceptance
One of the simplest ways to start listening to ourselves and accepting our discomfort lies in mindfulness. Listening to our emotions is always easier if we observe our mind. Therefore noticing what we’re thinking in every moment will help us see details about our feelings we wouldn’t have otherwise.
That’s the power of observation. We only pay attention to the nuances of our experience when we observe attentively. When we use our listening skills.
That’s why observing what we think, feel, and sense in our body is so important. Plus, to get the most out of this observation, we have to do it without getting dragged away by the experiences that might appear in front of us. For that, you can follow these strategies:
- Breathing as a starting and meeting point. Breathing is one of the easiest ways to bring ourselves into the moment we’re in. Focusing on it is essential when for starting to practice mindfulness. Sure, you might lose focus for a second and trip up in your thoughts. But returning to your breathing will bring you back to the present.
- Everything gets worse before it gets better. When we start to practice listening to what we feel, accepting what is happening, our discomfort may actually grow. But, remember that this downturn is short. And, if we do it right, it won’t take us long at all to start to get better.
- Scan your body to truly know it. Our body has a ton of information inside it. Being aware of your senses and tensions will help you know yourself better and release your emotions.
- Be kind to yourself and the experience. We’re often our own worst judges. We condemn all our negative experiences and multiply our feelings by making a value judgement. What happens isn’t good or bad. It simply happens, and most of the time we can’t change it. Accept it and let it go as just another part of the experience, since judging won’t help.
Now you have tools to stop ignoring the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are uncomfortable. Now you can live without feeding discomfort by trying to avoid it.
Just listen to what your discomfort and pain is trying to tell you. And then learn from it, because it contains the key to overcoming it.