Making friends with fear and pain
What happens when we resist and villainize fear and pain?
When we are small children, we pee and take a dump whenever the urge arises. Early on, however, we learn to go to a private place, the toilet room, to handle these basic needs. And, for the most part, doing this privately is just as effective, from a totally personal point of view, as before we were toilet trained.
What would happen if we resisted peeing and pooping?
Can you imagine, however, what would happen if we were somehow “suppressed” in peeing and taking a dump under any circumstances, private or not? What if we were given the messages that something was wrong with us if we had to “express ourselves” in this way? What if we were given the messages that others would not like us, would not love us, would not respect us if we didn’t somehow “keep it in,” or, at worst, keep it as a dirty secret that we to hide as best we could?
It will express itself anyway, creating immense collateral damage in the process
Of course, it's obvious that “keeping it in” would be impossible. It will come out one way or another and our resistance to it will create other problems in our lives and in our bodies. But, given our desire to liked, loved, and respected, we would make great effort to pretend that we don’t need to pee and poop. We would learn to admire others who seemed to "not need to" like we do.
Can you imagine a society in which there were no public or private toilets, no acceptable and official place to take a dump (shades of the movie Pleasantville)!? And somehow we had to pretend that we didn’t need “to do that”? Can you begin to imagine all the obscure, circuitous, and damaging effects that this would have on each and every moment of our lives?
Yet we have done almost the same in our resistance and suppression of fear and pain
I submit that, in large measure, regarding our mental, emotional, and spiritual life, we essentially do what we would never think of doing regarding the natural process of peeing and pooping: we suppress it and hold it in.
When we were young with no self-censorship, we expressed all our feelings fully
Young children typically express any and all feelings immediately in sound, with nothing held back, whether these be feelings of joy, excitement, anger, fear, or pain. Yet, slowly but surely, young children accept the thousands of subtle and not-so-subtle messages that say, “If you want to be liked, loved, and respected, you will not express certain feelings so spontaneously, especially those of fear, anger, and pain.” In addition, we are not provided with any method or approach to express these feelings privately where they will not cause damage to others or to how others see us.
What's the defining difference between adults and young children?
It could be argued that the defining difference between a child and an adult is that an adult has learned to self-censor the expression of thoughts and feelings. This typically starts to happen around the age of four and is usually well established by the age of eight. I am not going to suggest that we go back to being an “uncensored child,” even if it were possible.
And the defining difference that this self-censorship has made is, whereas children are the happiest
people on earth, we adults are trying to get back to that natural happiness that was our birthright and we had and took for granted when we were children.
Children are intensely "unhappy" for short periods of time, but then....
They express it fully. They are in pain. They cry. They're frightened. They show it fully. They're angry. You know about it.
And then five, ten, maybe fifteen minutes later they are happy again as if it never happened.
We need to get it out like children do, yet in ways that won't damage relationships with others
But just because we learn to censor and edit what gets verbally expressed doesn’t mean that we still don’t have the need, in order to return to and remain a happy and joyous person, for the regular self-expression that a young child spontaneously exudes. When it comes to taking a dump, we acknowledge and recognize that physical need and we provide the ongoing acceptance and encouragement of handling this need privately. However, in the arena of “taking a dump” with our emotions, for the most part, we have not acknowledged this ongoing need in our adulthood.
Welcome to the world of emotional constipation that we think is "normal."
As a result, to a lesser or greater degree, emotional constipation is a chronic condition of almost every human being above the age of five. And, for the most part, since it is a condition that everyone shares, no one recognizes it as an aberration.
Four processes to reclaim, step by step, the happiness of your child within
Four major processes in AskDwightHow are designed to assist, not only in the execution of the first cornerstone of choosing courage, embracing the energy of one’s fear and pain and making friends with those, but also in reclaiming your natural birthright of happiness and full self-expression.
As Byron Katie says, "When you fight with reality, you lose. But only 100% of the time."
The first process: Undoing fear or Making Friends with your Fear
The first process, Making Friends with Your Fear, can be used in any and all situations to quickly reduce or eliminate your resistance to your fear and pain. This allows you also to tap into the vital energies of your fear for your own use. Look for opportunities to use this process many times every day. See Kickstarting a mental habit.
The second process: Enchanting
Enchanting takes a deeper cut at de-repressing and expressing pent-up feelings. Unlike the first process, which can be done sotto voce, Enchanting typically must be done when no one else is around. If you want to really keep the feelings well expressed, do this at least thirty minutes a day: you can probably find a way to do it concurrently with some other task such as driving.
The third process: Deep Awakening Renewal
The Deep Awakening Revewal is the most powerful of all these processes. Thirty minutes alone with this process will transform any mood, attitude, or feeling. This process must also be done when you are in a private space. Do this one at least once a week to create a deep feeling of energized serenity in your life.
The fourth process: Your Whine List
Your Whine List is the only process that is not down alone. It has its own unique power in moving through feelings of depression, resignation, anger, and so on. This process should be done anytime you feel stuck. Choose the courage to set up Your Whine List and then call someone on that list whenever needed to whine, bitch, moan, and complain. Express those fuckers out!