Why is Healing Painful?

By JP Sears, Holistic Coach

“If healing emotional wounds and painful experiences is supposed to make me feel better, then why am I feeling worse than I did before I started this healing journey?”  This is perhaps one of the most important questions to address that routinely arises during the processes of self-growth for many of us.  The question specifically refers to the negative events in our lives we either thought had been resolved or did not believe to bother us to begin with.  But then we begin a healing process and some of these events may come to our awareness as painful.  Without an understanding of why they may do so, there might be a noticeable increase in emotional discomfort possibly prompting one to abandon their journey out of fear that it is doing more harm than good.

Many people associate a lack of feeling with healing, meaning when they think about an event, if they do not feel emotional pain or discomfort they believe the experience to be healed or resolved.  This is certainly true in many cases but is this true for all of our issues?  What if your most painful experiences were so threatening to a part of you that as a “self” protecting mechanism that part of you pushed your true feelings below a conscious level of awareness?  In essence, it kept you numb so that you did not have to feel the pain. Sweeping the pain under our rug by numbing it in this way only hides the pain at best.  The pain is still with us whether we notice it or not because, after all, it is OUR own rug that we sweep it under!  In fact, as a very enlightened personal mentor of mine, John McMullin, says, numbness is actually the most intense form of pain that is possible.  My personal experiences with working on many issues within myself, as well as witnessing clients heal issues of their own, validates this statement for me.

The response of many child victims of sexual abuse is further support of the above suggestion that we are capable of numbing our intensely painful experiences. You very well may have heard of people who were sexually abused as children, yet had no recollection of the painful event whatsoever until they were well into their adulthood. Whether they know it or not, these numbed out feelings and issues were always present in the person’s energy field, and they affect the victim profoundly.  The wound remains open until the fearful part of their self consents to experiencing the pain of the wound by un-numbing it.  It is only after pain can be felt that it can be experienced and processed, allowing us to heal and grow as a result. This would mean that for some of our issues, as we begin to feel pain we are actually lessening the intensity of our wound and therefore moving in a healing direction! 

The fact that we can cause ourselves to forget parts of our lives and deaden ourselves to a painful past raises what may be a frightening possibility. Could I have many issues with which I haven’t dealt and of which I have no knowledge? Will they all pour into my awareness at once if I begin to explore my past?  My experience would suggest not.  Because the part of us that kept these feelings numb in the first place did so because it felt threatened, as we begin to heal what we currently have the ability to feel we become stronger as a whole.  With an increase in strength the part of us that felt the most threatened and vulnerable begins to heal and becomes gradually more and more secure.  As a result this part of us will allow more issues to leak into our awareness at an acceptable pace to us. This is not to say that some of our processing won’t be potentially challenging, but we do not present ourselves with anything unless the time is right for us to handle and process it.

Healing can sometimes seem to increase the pain of an experience because you become conscious of your feelings as the self-induced numbness wears off.  With this understanding of the healing process you may be empowered to continue your beautiful journey of healing and growth, even when you suddenly become aware of old emotions and feelings.

About the Author

JP Sears is a Holistic Health Coach in San Diego, CA.  His one-on-one client practice specializes in holistic emotional healing and resolving self-sabotage issues.  JP regularly facilitates classes and workshops nationally and internationally on a variety of inner healing topics while being widely acclaimed for his heartfelt and dynamic style.  For more information on upcoming classes, tele-classes, or becoming a client, please visit InnerAwakeningsOnline.com.  You can also subscribe to JP’s YouTube Channel at www.YouTube.com/AwakenWithJP and follow him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/InnerAwakeningsOnline.