We are so used to trying to “fix” everything.
Our parents, teachers, religious institutions, political leaders, and very societies all operate under the belief that life is about fixing, improving, and striving for an ideal state.
The moment our pure childhood minds were filled with beliefs and judgments about life was the moment we start to become human fixers instead of human be-ings. Instead of meeting life as it is, we start seeing life through a lens of “this is good” and “this is bad.” Instead of seeing the interconnectedness of everything, we started thinking in a linear, rigid, and mechanistic fashion about life.
Of course, while this was necessary for our evolutionary growth, it ultimately stunted our capacity to open to life, and encouraged us to constantly close to everything around and inside of us.
One of the biggest experiences we isolate ourselves from in life is that of emotional suffering. Understandably, it’s our primal instinct to avoid that which hurts us. And the number one way we avoid our emotional suffering – while at the same time believing that we’re dealing with it “efficiently” – is by trying to “fix” it.
The Eternal Quest to Find an Emotional Panacea
We try to fix our emotional anguish and suffering in a multitude of ways.
We try fixing our emotional suffering in self-destructive ways, such as through drug, alcohol, food, and other addictions. We call this “avoiding” or “numbing” the pain. And we try to fix our emotional suffering in socially encouraged and acceptable ways such as by reading self-improvement books, going to workshops, and seeing psychologists.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The socially prescribed ways of dealing with pain are very useful and important. I absolutely encourage people to go down this path if it calls to them. But while these socially prescribed ways help us to manage, understand, temporarily release, and cope with pain, sometimes so that we can function completely “normally” again, they do not in any way “fix” our emotional suffering.
And besides, isn’t that why we read and listen to all of these specialists in the first place: to find some kind of panacea, some kind of permanent “fix” for our emotional suffering?
But if you’ve been in the self-improvement spiritual sphere for a while, you’ll realize that the quest to fix your pain, to make yourself whole again, is never-ending. Certainly, there are many brilliant tools out there, but none of them quite seem good enough. Otherwise, why would you keep moving from book to book to teacher to teacher?
The Danger of Trying to “Fix” Your Emotional Suffering
In our innocent folly, we believe it’s possible to “fix” emotional suffering, just like it’s possible to fix a mangled car or manky old kitchen cabinet.
We believe that if we look hard enough and try many different techniques, we will finally find the perfect “fix” to all our troubles. This quest leads us in circles and can continue for many years, even whole lifetimes. But in the end, we constantly end up wanting more. And it is this eternal thirst for a “fix” that leads us to spiritual addiction.
What we miss along the way is that the more we try to fix our emotional suffering, the more our anguish actually deepens and increases.
The more we try to mend and repair ourselves, the more broken we feel.
Isn’t that an odd paradox? What an irony.
The reason why it’s impossible for us to “fix” emotional suffering is that the very act of trying to fix our pain makes it worse. The very act of trying to change what we’re feeling is a form of resistance, and the more we resist, the more our suffering persists.
The more we think “I shouldn’t be feeling this way, I need to change this,” the deeper we drive our despair. And the deeper we despair, the more intensely we search for a fix to our problem.
Can you see the cycle that emerges?
Can you see how trying to fix pain actually makes it worse?
The Answer to a Bleeding Heart
The only way to end the cycle of pain, spiritual addiction, and constant desire to “fix” yourself is by courting your emotions.
Courting your emotions is about being attentive to them, listening to them, honoring them, and letting them melt into your heart – just as you would with a lover.
Your anxiety is anxious about itself. Your anguish is anguished with itself. Your hatred is hateful towards itself. Your loneliness feels lonely with itself. The only way you can liberate yourself from your emotional suffering is by opening your heart to all of these emotions unconditionally.
Every painful, tortuous feeling must be given rest in your heart. Every disturbing sensation must be accepted exactly as it is, without you wanting it to change. Every one of your emotions must be met, felt with compassion, and allowed safe passage in your heart.
Love is the energy of the heart, and it is the only doorway through which your painful emotions can pass. When you try to “fix” these emotions, you keep them stranded in the body. You are essentially telling whatever painful emotion you’re experiencing, “You’re not good enough, I don’t like you, I want to get rid of you.” What message does this send to your emotions? What message does this send to yourself?
Your emotional anguish craves for love, for true unconditional love. Your pain thirsts for comfort, solace, and nurturing. Instead of sending your pain the message that you hate it, you need to treat it as a mother, father, friend, or lover would. Open your arms to this pain, allow compassion to clothe it, and it will melt through the doorway in your heart and be released.
Your heart has its own intelligence. This has even been proven scientifically by the Heartmath Institute. The intelligence of your heart knows how to overcome fear. The intelligence of your heart is love, and love embraces the darkest and dimmest emotions you have.
This love I speak of isn’t conditional – it doesn’t expect or want anything from your emotions. All it desires is to express its overflowing abundance of empathy, kindness, and benevolence. All the heart desires is to show love.
In order to show love, you need to trust in the wisdom of your heart. You need to be willing to open to and feel the pain you have been trying to fix. Only then can love emerge as your inner mother, father, friend or lover.
Love is not only softness. Love is not a “woo-woo” new age cliche. Love is ruthless acceptance, fierce passion, and intense openness. Love will take your pain in its arms and cherish it with the white fire love of a mother towards its newborn child. Love will cradle and clothe your pain, and listen to its dying words with unsurpassable devotion and fervor.
The moment you feel this love throb in your chest, in your soul, is the moment you have found the doorway to your pain’s liberation.