How to Love the Parts of Us that Hurt

Greetings fellow mindful travelers!

This is not an easy time for many of us on the planet.  Many people have lost lives, lost jobs, lost money, lost the connections, groups, activities, and places they loved.

And to add to that, we are told to stay at home, socially distance, and be afraid of a virus anytime we go out.

This is certainly a recipe for suffering if I’ve ever seen one!

The good news is, suffering is not the end of the story, it is often just the beginning.

There is a Buddhist phrase that goes: “No mud, no lotus.”

In other words, from our suffering can grow a beautiful flower.

This is no easy task.  Often we first need to play around in the mud, get triggered, feel our pain and suffering, and just say “ouch!”

Life hurts.  This sucks.  We need to get upset and allow ourselves to feel our hurt fully.

Give yourself permission to feel your hurt.

At the same time, we can start to see the lotus growing in the mud.

We can turn toward our suffering parts that hurt and start to get to know them better.

“Hello anger, how are you today?”

“Good afternoon fear, what would you like to tell me?”

“I see you sadness, how can I support you today?”

We can start to have a dialogue with all of our inner “demons” and get to know them better.

Anger might say: “RAWWRR! I’m pissed! I can’t see the people I love!  I can’t do anything fun!  The world is falling apart!”

“Yes, I see that.  I hear how upset you are and you have every right to be.  This is not easy.”

Anger: “RAWWRR! I don’t know what to do, I feel trapped!”

“Yeah, you don’t have all the power you used to.  That sucks.  What would feel good for you to do?”

Anger: “Rawwr, I don’t know, let’s go for a walk!  And count how many different flowers there are!  Thank you for listening and understanding me.”

“You’re welcome, sounds like a plan.  I’m here for you.”

We don’t have to abandon ourselves at this time.

It may be tempting to drown our inner voices out with distractions, and I get it, I do it too. But know that we can also take time to sit with our suffering and pain parts too.

Those inner “demons,” they actually really appreciate it when you give them some attention and try to understand their pain.

In fact, if you do, they sometimes become much more angel-like than a demon.

And thus from mud, a lotus begins to grow.

So to sum it up, here are a few steps for you:

1. Notice your suffering and offer it some attention

2. Give yourself permission to feel your hurt

3. Spend some time getting to know your hurt parts

4. Ask these parts what they need

5. See if you can extend some compassion to these parts (“I see you, I hear you, I’m here for you.”)

6. Know that you are not alone and cared for by the universe

I hope this was helpful, and if you think it could help others, feel free to send it along!

I know these are difficult times, and thus a time we need to practice mindfulness and compassion more than ever.

Until next time,

Ellis Edmunds, Psy.D.

P.S. If you would like some group support, we are now offering our mindfulness group online!  Click below for our next free intro class!
*Free Intro Class: Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety Group (click to register) – June 4th on Zoom.

P.P.S.  We just created our first self-guided online mindfulness e-course!  Check it out below:

Everyday Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety 6 Week E-Course