By design, the purpose of this warning system allows us to release disempowering beliefs before they manifest as (more) life experiences that represent those beliefs. Just like a fire alarm alerts you to danger so that you can prevent harm, emotional pain alerts you to “issue-causing beliefs,” so that you can release them and prevent future issues.
Unfortunately, no one ever taught us the true meaning of emotional pain, and, without this knowledge, we have falsely assumed that emotional pain is an indicator of truth!
For instance, let’s say that after your first romance ended with rejection, you began to believe that you were unworthy of love. Once you believed that you were unworthy, your internal warning system alerted you through emotional pain, and because the pain is intense, you have falsely assumed that the belief is true. So, rather than choosing to release the disempowering belief when you feel emotional pain (as life intended), you unknowingly reinforce it — resulting in a vicious cycle that is fueled by misperception.
In other words, instead of using emotional pain as intended, we falsely believe that emotional pain indicates that our disempowering beliefs are true, and, subsequently, we use emotional pain to validate our negative stories about life!
In fact, we automatically assume that the greater the pain, the greater the truth!
Therefore, rather than identifying disempowering beliefs and letting them go when we feel emotional pain, we hold on even tighter!
Every time you use emotional pain to prove that your disempowering beliefs are true, you strengthen those beliefs, and, in direct proportion, emotional pain intensifies. Just like an alarm that gets louder the longer it’s ignored, emotional pain increases the longer you maintain disempowering beliefs, and when emotional pain lingers or escalates over time, it becomes an emotional wound.
Just to be perfectly clear, whenever you use emotional pain to prove that your interpretation of events is true, you reinforce the disempowering beliefs causing emotional pain, and when you consistently reinforce these beliefs, you either create a new emotional wound or perpetuate a preexisting one.
This means that if you use emotional pain to prove that you’re a victim, the emotional wound deepens and your sense of victimhood increases, and, of course, the same is true for unworthiness, as well as every other disempowering belief.
Needless to say, the more we believe a disempowering belief, and the longer we believe, the more emotional pain we experience, and since disempowering beliefs manifest as real-life circumstances, it’s common to repeat negative patterns.
Hence, when we use emotional pain to indicate the truth of our story or prove an interpretation of events correct, we inevitably fuel a vicious cycle, and while repeating the issues we most want to overcome, our normal approach to emotional pain prevents healing.
Alerting us to disempowering beliefs, emotional pain acts as a fool-proof warning system, and although this feedback system is absolutely accurate, it’s only effective if we heed the warning. Unfortunately, this is not what usually happens. Instead of saying to ourselves, “Wow, it feels really bad to believe I am unworthy, so it must be untrue,” we mindlessly grasp onto disempowering beliefs as if they are written in stone.
However, ignoring emotional pain can be just as crazy (and dangerous) as ignoring physical pain.
For instance, let’s say that while slicing veggies, you accidentally cut your finger, and, instantly, pain alerts you to injury. Now, imagine feeling the pain, but, instead of heeding the warning, you continue slicing, and, as an unfortunate consequence, you cut off your finger. Or, imagine that while you’re physically ill with food poisoning, you continue to eat the bad food that made you sick!
Of course, both these scenarios sound insane, but it’s just as crazy to dismiss emotional pain. By ignoring emotional pain, and accepting the same disempowering beliefs day after day, we set ourselves up for negative consequences, and, ultimately, more pain!