The Roots of Our Pain

by | Feb 5, 2024 | Emotional Intelligence, Well-Being/ Self-Leadership

When you experience emotional pain, it’s often because you’re attributing a particular meaning to a situation that reflects on yourself. If the situation didn’t somehow relate to you, it wouldn’t provoke such a strong reaction.

Our nervous system continually scans our surroundings, looking for any potential threat to our physical or psychological well-being. Consequently, it categorizes each situation as either positive or negative, safe or dangerous, and our emotional response aligns with these perceptions. If a situation is irrelevant, we typically feel neutral, but if it’s relevant to us, we’re more likely to feel triggered. These reactions stem from the beliefs and expectations we’ve developed throughout our lives, which serve as the criteria for evaluating ourselves, others, and our experiences.

Let’s put this theory to the test. I invite you to focus on your heart and stomach and observe how your energy shifts as you read the following statements. For each statement, consider the extent to which it resonates with you and the intensity of your emotional response. Take a moment between each statement to prevent the energies from blending together.

StatementsHow relevant (past or present) is this statement?
0=Not at all
5=Very personal
How intense is your emotional charge for this statement?
0=No charge – Neutral
5=Highly charged

Wrexham was promoted to the next level.
Interest rates are going up.

Good employees are hard to find.
Parakeets make the best pets.
In Chicago, the weather today is 23 degrees and cloudy.
You make special accommodations to meet with a colleague, and they no show without an explanation.

Did you notice any similarities between the relevance of an experience and the intensity of the emotional charge it carries?

Chances are, you’ve encountered the disappointment of being stood up after making special accommodations for someone. If you were raised in a household that prioritized punctuality, the emotional impact may have been significant, as it clashed with your standards. Conversely, if time was viewed more leniently in your upbringing, such a situation might not have fazed you much, as it aligned with your norms. You might even find yourself thinking, “What’s the fuss?”

If terms like “Wrexham” and “promotion” in the context of a football club in Wales don’t ring a bell for you, you might have felt indifferent about the subject. However, if you did experience an emotional reaction, it could have been triggered by confusion. In such a scenario, the emotion likely leaned towards embarrassment; a part of you may have felt a pressure to know, worrying about the consequences of being perceived as ignorant.

Does the rapid shift from Wrexham to confusion, embarrassment, and the fear of being exposed leave you feeling overwhelmed? Your inner dialogue might be quick to dismiss the notion of embarrassment, especially regarding something like not knowing about Wrexham.

But here’s where our nervous systems kick into high gear. They aren’t just attuned to present threats but also hypersensitive to potential ones. So, if there’s a belief within you that you should have most, if not all, the answers, your emotional and behavioral responses to embarrassment can be primed, even in the face of a mere possibility.

Why is this significant?

When we operate under the assumption that external factors dictate our emotions and experiences, we become fixated on the events or circumstances triggering our feelings. Consequently, we expend energy trying to rectify or alter these triggers to alleviate our discomfort. Often, these efforts manifest as judgment, blame, complaint, or gossip, ultimately straining or fracturing our relationships.

When we’re ready to address our pain, we must introspect and examine the meaning we assign to these painful situations and relationships. Uncovering the unconscious beliefs and expectations that underpin our reactions allows us to extend grace and compassion to ourselves, releasing the energy bound up in these limiting beliefs.

As we release this emotional baggage, our triggers lose their power. The energy once spent reinforcing these beliefs and defending against pain can now be channeled into creating the life we desire.

If only it were as simple as wishing for other people and events to change, so we wouldn’t have to…

Remember, we’re social beings meant to learn and grow together. Seek out a supportive community if you’re facing challenges alone. And when you’re ready to elevate your life and business, consider booking a strategy call for support. The sooner you seek help, the faster you’ll grow.

About This Blog

I’m Mary Meduna-Gross, a professional coach and the founder of Plena Vita, a company that offers coaching services and products to help people rewire their success.

Embark on a transformative journey with me as we challenge the conventional notions of success. In our blog and Fully Alive podcast, discover a unique path that prioritizes energy management, enabling you to effortlessly bring your dreams to life by embracing a state of creative flow.