Jack-In-the-BoxPain.

Raw, emotional pain. No one wants to experience it, yet it’s inevitable. We all feel it at different times in our life. Whether it’s the death of a loved one or the death of a beloved pet, watching your child in pain and not being able to do anything to take that pain away, the pain of a divorce, or countless other reasons, it can cut right through you and bring your life to a grinding halt.

As many different reasons as there are for pain, there are an equal number of ways we try to cope with it.

Regardless of what we do, the reason is universal.

We’re trying to avoid feeling the pain.

We’ll find any way and do anything to numb ourselves from it, run from it, and hide from it.

That is called avoidance. But until we face it, feel it, and kick it to the curb, we aren’t going to be able to truly heal from it. And we certainly can’t hide from our pain.

What you resist, persists.

The harder we try to avoid something, the more we do to ignore it, and the faster we try to run from it, the longer it’s going to hang around. Waiting for the next chance to jump out from where it’s hiding and yell “Hey, I’m still here!”

So how do we heal it?

We have to feel it.

In today’s society, life is so busy and noisy that most people haven’t actually felt their true feelings at a deep level for so long that they may not even remember what real emotions feel like.

All we know is that when we don’t like how we feel about something, we’ll do anything and everything to make it go away. But like a jack-in-the-box, it just keeps popping up.

Here are a few ways you can start to heal your pain by feeling it:

Sit with it. And I mean sit there. Shut off all the noise and outside chatter. That means email and cell phones, too. Let the feeling of the pain wash over you.

Go for a walk in a quiet place in nature. On the beach, on a mountain trail, or through a park. Try to go early in the morning when it’s quiet before there are a lot of people around.

Cry. And I mean really cry. The kind of crying that Oprah calls her “ugly cry.” Sobbing, snotty, gulping for air kind of crying. Really let yourself cry and feel all the emotions that come bubbling up.

Take a trip by yourself. Spend a few days in complete solitude and do some of the things I suggested above.

You may need to do any, all, or a combination of these things over the course of a few days or from time to time. The key is to put a time limit on it. Do it for an afternoon or a weekend. Just don’t let it drag on indefinitely. If you have to do it again in the future, do it.

Be sure to write as you do this. Write about what you’re feeling, where you’re feeling it, what caused the pain, and why it’s so painful. It doesn’t matter what it says and it doesn’t even have to make sense, just write to get it all out. Throw a great big, super-size temper tantrum on paper.

This isn’t easy, and it isn’t pretty. But if you do this, I promise you that you that the intensity of the pain will lessen, and it won’t last as long or come up as frequently. If you don’t do it, that jack-in-the-box is going to keep popping up!

Because remember: What you resist, persists.

I’d love to hear about other ways you’ve faced your pain. Please leave me a comment below. And remember: I’m here to support you in any way I can.