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An Inner Fitness Mistake I Made – And How You Can Address It

When I was in the third grade, a little boy I really liked told me he loved me. 

I was on cloud nine for two days.

Then, just before the bell rang at school, he passed me a note. The note said my girlfriend had dared him to pretend that he loved me. It was a joke—he didn’t really love me. 

I pretended like it didn’t bother me.  I walked home with my friends and never mentioned it. But I was very hurt and never gave myself time to acknowledge it.

That was a mistake.

If you’ve ever repressed your emotions like that, you know that trying to pretend that you’re okay doesn’t work. The pain doesn’t go away just because you pushed it down.  

That’s because unexpressed feelings don’t die; they stay with us until we find a way to process or express them.  

Getting to the truth  

When you don’t acknowledge your pain, you will be forced to live it again and again because it will be triggered every time you experience a similar event.


But there is a simple way to stop this automatic reaction….


The next time you find yourself hurting emotionally, disrupt your normal pattern by taking a few moments to explore what’s going on inside.


Parent to the pain and ask yourself questions like “When was the first time I felt like this?” and “How is it limiting my perspective of myself and what is possible in my life today?” Ask questions until you find out what’s in it that is the most painful.

It will likely be that you are in pain because you feel that someone will see you in a certain way, and you judge that way as not good enough or as, in some way, showing up less than how you want to show up. And that hurts.

But it hurts because you've already judged yourself as less than in that particular way or area. And there’s a physiological reason for that …

Pain, or anything you experience, is energy. Energy is constantly changing form or moving unless something gets in the way and stops it.

However, a recurring painful experience is energy that gets stuck because you didn’t process it properly. And that stuck energy lives in your body as an unconscious experience until you attend to it.

Easing your discomfort  

Often, when we’re in pain, we feel so uncomfortable that we tell ourselves that this shouldn't be the case. So, in addition to feeling the pain of the experience, we feel the added discomfort of thinking that it shouldn’t be happening.

We acknowledge the pain, but we also judge ourselves, God, or the universe because we think we shouldn't be experiencing this.

Can you see how that’s like assuaging and condemning your emotions at the same time? These conflicting thoughts help to keep the energy stuck inside you. However, accepting what is instead of judging the situation eases the discomfort.

Defusing your triggers

Usually, when you’re triggered by something, you lose yourself. You get taken out. You can't think because your brain becomes more narrowly focused when you're triggered.

But here’s what you likely don’t realize…

The trigger is NOT the current event. You’re not upset because of what is going on at that moment. The real trigger is that somewhere in your past, you were hurt and felt a certain way and you didn’t acknowledge and process the pain.

So, it doesn't matter what is going on externally at the moment. The real trigger is the unaddressed pain internally. It’s the stuck energy that wasn't properly processed that is being stimulated or instigated by the current experience. 

Being with your feelings

I’ve learned that one of the best ways to help pain resolve is to tolerate it. By that, I mean being with your feelings.  

I start by acknowledging what’s going on inside me. I say, “This hurts. My heart is beating fast, and I feel a sting inside.“  

Acknowledging what's going on with as much specificity as possible makes you present rather than being in a state of avoidance or judgment.

Once you're present, you can begin to use actual physical and physiological strategies to help you manage your emotions and troubling thoughts.

An example of a technique you can use is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is tapping work that releases emotional energy and helps you take the edge off of discomfort. It quickly lowers the level of anxiety that is flowing through you.

Acknowledging your pain and taking steps to release the energy will set you free if you practice it.  In the same way, push-ups make you stronger if you do them regularly.

The more you practice being present and making choices that make you feel noticeably better, the more confident you become that you can change your state.

Ending the cycle

I shared a story in The Little Book of Big Lies about an incident that occurred with an old boyfriend years ago….

One evening, we got into a silly argument about something that had nothing to do with what was really going on between us. The argument escalated and played out in a familiar way.

But this time, I responded differently.

This time, even though the incident triggered me, all the work I had been doing paid off.  I was conscious enough to be aware of what was happening inside me. I was present and able to do the work in the midst of the trigger.

That had never happened before.

These days, I don’t let things get that far. Whenever I’m hurting, I honor my feelings right away by saying, “I am sorry that happened to you, Tina.” Even if I stub my toe, I take a moment, place my hand lovingly on whatever hurts, and verbally apologize to me. It is amazing how quickly the hurt goes away.

Setting yourself free  

The more you practice becoming more conscious in your daily life, the more you will be able to see yourself in the midst of a trigger or reaction.

As you start to experience a recurring painful experience or memory, do these three things:

1.      Acknowledge where you are and how you feel.

2.     Process unwanted energy.

3.     Respond differently this time.  

Each time you encounter an old pattern with new internal behavior, the old pattern is more disrupted and destabilized. When you alter your response to a painful pattern in even the slightest way, the new response weakens the old pattern.

Summing up

So, here’s the bottom line, Honey Bunny:

In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle explains the phenomenon I’ve described in this post: unresolved hurt “leaves behind a residue of pain that lives on in you.”

However, if you face it and bring the light of your consciousness into the pain, you will start to dissipate the stuck energy so that you won’t be forced to relive it again and again for the rest of your life.

It’s an opportunity to reclaim your power from an experience that became stuck energy that lives inside you as a trigger point.

Let’s create more fulfilling lives.

Tina Lifford plays Aunt Vi on the critically acclaimed television show, Queen Sugar. The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey Into Inner Fitness is her first book; released by Harper Collins, November 2019, and is full of the kind of internal “actions” that will transform your thinking and your life. Want more Inner Fitness gems? Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more Aha moments.

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