You want to feel the good feelings but avoid painful ones? This is what we have learned to do. However, this modern approach to feelings does not serve people well and is likely to lead to suffering. Avoidance techniques can range from work addiction, junk food addiction, alcoholism and many other avoidance strategies that have become the norm in modern society.
Avoidance can cause us to be angry, sad, feel unloved and have low self-esteem. So, it is important to be present in our pain.
Painful emotions are not the problem you may think that they are, they are the opposite, the star to guide you. Emotion is energy that keeps on moving in the body until we express it.
Where does avoidance come from?
Often, this comes from childhood. We can develop coping strategies that involve suppressing our feelings as they may not be accepted, “don’t cry” is a common adult response when a child becomes emotional. While certain emotional responses may be helpful in childhood they can be outdated when it comes to a healthy response to experiences as an adult.
The expression of emotion has gone out of fashion in the adult world, we must be strong in the face of adversity. The expression of emotion is deemed as a sign of weakness. The reality is that nature will make us feel one way or the other, just as the stream of a river will flow. If you block the flow of a river it will just flood the surrounding land until it finally it finds a way to the sea.
Conventional medicine can view negative feelings such as anxiety and depression as a problem that needs to be addressed. However, those feelings are not the problem, they are symptoms of the problem of deeper unresolved emotional issues.
Medication simply numbs the nervous system so that we can suppress those feelings but in the process numbs all feelings. The person becomes numb, not able to feel positives feelings of joy, excitement, happiness in the way they should be felt.
Just a physical pain is a signal that there is some problem in the body, a negative emotional state is a signal that all is not well in the way we are functioning at s deeper level. Instead of suppressing such feelings we need to understand what they are telling us in the same way that physical pain does when it is investigated.
In primitive societies, emotional pain results from loss and primate fears, most emotional pain in modern society is issue-based. The wrong sexuality, lack of social status, the unmanageable debts, unworkable relationships, the list goes on. The inability to come to terms with the complexity of modern life creates a situation where many live with ongoing anxiety and depression.
So, instead of numbing the pain with different avoidance strategies ask yourself what is the pain telling you. You will discover that your pain is the gap between living true to your authenticity and your present reality that you have created about yourself: how life should be and how you fit into an ever-changing world. You can create a new story that serves your needs as a human being.
Cravings for mood-changing substances (alcohol, junk food, nicotine, etc) is the experience of emotional pain being transmuted into the craving. Your mind doesn't want you to experience the emotional pain, it is felt like a craving instead.
Overcoming the craving and breaking free from your addiction involves embracing the craving without acting on it and allowing the emotional pain to be experienced. This can be quite difficult but you can't heal what you can't feel.
Unless this healing takes place you will be held in the throes of the addiction. You can now understand why all conventional weight loss programmes have almost a 100% failure rate. They don't address the emotions that drive the craving.