“I shouldn’t be feeling like this”

Physical and emotional painSomething I hear a lot is “I shouldn’t be feeling like this.” Instead, we think we should be feeling happy about our lives when we’re not, or shouldn’t be feeling jealous or worried or upset when that’s exactly how we’re feeling in the moment.

Compare that to physical pain. We rarely tell ourselves we shouldn’t be feeling the pain of a headache or stomachache. We accept that our physical pain is real and figure out how to take care of it — with a nap, or medicine, or whatever is right for that moment. We know that telling ourselves “I shouldn’t be feeling this papercut right now” doesn’t actually help the papercut feel better.

So why the difference? After all, brain scans show that humans register emotional pain in the same part of our brains where we register physical pain. In other words, to our brain there’s not a whole lot of difference between the pain of feeling rejected and the pain of a sprained ankle. They both hurt; they both need gentle attention and care. And while counseling can’t take fix sprains or cuts or physical bruising, it does provide first aid for the very real emotional challenges that we all experience.

Ready to get help? Contact Dana to set up an appointment to talk through your goals.