Yesterday, I caught the tail end of a conversation that got me thinking about pain, and how attached many of us our to our pain.

Pain is a valuable tool, as its presence alerts us to something that is in need of attention and healing, but what happens when we become so used to the pain that not only do we hold onto it, but we recreate it in our lives? Few people are even aware that they do this, and in some cases would be quite offended if someone pointed this pattern out to them. The truth is that we all do this on some level. Those of us who have experienced trauma are more prone to the patterns of re-enacting our woundedness.

I recall one of the quotes from the movie Shawshank Redemption, when Red is talking about being institutionalized: "These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. After long enough, you get so you depend on 'em." Pain is often similar. We hate it, but over time, it becomes almost comfortable. It is familiar and if we are to let go of the pain, then we must also accept that we will change. For some of us, the idea of change, of the unknown, is far more terrifying than the pain. We already know that we can survive the pain. What we may not know is whether we can survive without it.

Have you ever looked at your life and those aspects of your life that you are unhappy with as ask the question "How am I creating this or keeping this in my life?" What a powerful question. What a scary question! Once we open ourselves to the question, there is little keeping us away from that rabbit hole.

For me I find those moments of clarity and awareness to be very liberating - once I get over the frustration, judgement, guilt and other emotions associated with my patterns. Sometimes, it is downright embarrassing. "Did I really do that??? UGH!!" And because it is a pattern - then comes the "Did I really do that AGAIN???"

Of course beating yourself up and judging yourself over a pattern that was created through trauma is not much help either, is it? It is another pattern of self-abuse. So what do you do with that awareness? How do you change and heal??

The answer lies in the heart. Begin by practicing holding yourself with compassion. Hold yourself with love.

I can hear you saying that sounds way to simple. No way will that ever release a lifetime of pain and all the patterns and beliefs that come with it. Can't work.

Have you ever tried it?

The heart is immensely powerful, and love is one of the most powerful energies in the universe. Are you able to be loving toward yourself? Do you even know what it means? Some of us may not. Learning to love oneself is an art, and it is a key practice in the path to mastery.

If you discover that you are holding onto your pain and have created patterns in your life to keep it in place, I'll offer you a starting point. Practice releasing any judgements that you hold toward yourself about those behaviors. Any time you hear yourself making judgements, change the message to one of compassion. Acknowledge your own pain, your own fear. Simply allow it. Hold yourself in your heart center each time any judgement comes up and release the judgement. When you are ready, forgive yourself for any pain you have caused yourself. As you move forward, begin asking into the decisions that you are making - is this action/decision based on love or fear? Choose love. See how your life will transform as you begin acting from your heart rather than your wounds.

Be gentle with yourself.

Author's Bio: 

As a Social Worker and a spiritual & holistic healer, teacher and coach, Linda specializes in facilitating healing and personal growth through accessing the wisdom of the heart.

Linda has worked in Human Services since the early 90’s as a counselor for children and adolescents with significant trauma histories and a variety of emotional and behavioral disorders; as a case manager for people living with HIV and AIDS; and as a counselor for survivors of Domestic Violence. She also teaches others about methods for supporting individuals with emotional and developmental disabilities. Linda has been practicing holistic and energetic healing since 2002, expanding her knowledge continuously. She is passionate about helping survivors of trauma heal their inner wounds and overcome the devastating impact that trauma has on a person’s life. She blends a number of healing modalities into her work to provide a balanced approach to healing and a return to wholeness.

The heart is at the center of Linda’s work. Using the guidance and wisdom of the heart, Linda guides the individual into deeper connection within the body and the consciousness of the body’s energy system to facilitate healing at the origin of the wound.

Linda facilitates workshops and seminars on a variety of topics related to personal healing and wellness. Her coaching practice is also built on the foundation of heart centered wisdom and energetic healing practices to support the individual in overcoming barriers to living their soul’s purpose, helping them to identify and overcome blocks, and to learn skills and practices to help heal inner wounds, step into their power, & learn to live from the heart.