Case Study: Pain is not wrong
“Pain is not wrong. Reacting to pain as wrong initiates the trance of unworthiness. The moment we believe something is wrong, our world shrinks and we lose ourselves in the effort to combat the pain.”
― Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
We often blame ourselves for experiencing pain or any negative feelings. Our culture seems to expect us showing up in the world as a cheerful human. But sometimes this is not the authentic expression. Parenting young children is demanding on many levels and while being sleep deprived and exhausted it is hard to be the best version of self. Struggling, having negative thoughts and feelings are a part of the game. We are all trying to do our best and we are learning every day. I hear about it a lot from my clients. Often the negative feelings are not welcome and they are being repressed. But you can’t fix your shadow without confronting it!
As Katie contacted me she was overwhelmed by her life: children, partner, and endless chores. She was burnt out mothering her two young children and doing never-ending work around the house.
Katie is a stay-at-home mom and her children are 6 and 3. Her partner works full time and spends long hours outside the house every day. Katie’s family is too far away to help but they are willing to offer advice and judgment which is not helpful. That all made Katie feel disconnected and lonely. Her self-esteem was low and her focus was on many things she should be doing and feeling. Instead, she felt frustrated and sad, resentful and hopeless.
At first, we focused on Katie’s feelings which she has been repressing for a long time because of guilt she felt about experiencing them. As soon as she was able to lean into the discomfort of the hardship she was going through, Katie recognized that she pushed herself very hard and her family was her sole focus, which left her with no time to think about her own needs. This realization brought her more self-compassion. And this was an essential step for Katie.
“During my coaching with Aga, I felt heard and accepted. She helped me access my inner wisdom and confidence. It felt like I had all the answers in me and Aga just guided me to find them.”
After our first session, Katie scheduled regular time for herself, while her children were at school and preschool. It gave her space to connect with her own feelings and also just to do something fun.
“My first epiphany was that it was ok to stop pushing myself beyond my limits and that it was ok to experience difficult emotions. So simple and yet very liberating! The process of working with Aga was action-oriented and very efficient. It allowed me to find clarity and helped me rediscover myself.”
During our sessions, we identified Katie’s needs and she made a realistic and sustainable action plan for herself. Often we dove in quite deep to explore Katie’s limiting beliefs and examined how they affected her life.
“The action points we developed together were very helpful. First of all, now I am more aware of my feelings and it's easier for me to accept them, even if they are not very comfortable and pleasant. Secondly, I made the self-care an important part of my schedule and this has a huge effect on how I feel and how I connect with my family. Also, Aga gave me some tools to support myself in my daily life when my limiting beliefs try to get in my way.”
Katie was very committed to the changes she wished for in her life and she stuck to the action plan she made for herself. Already after the first session she was visibly less stressed and more hopeful.
“As I contacted Aga I felt overwhelmed and tired. I carried a lot of anger and frustration, and I blamed myself for experiencing these feelings.
I felt that Aga deeply understood what I was going through. She is intuitive and incredibly skilled at teasing out the information which is needed to make progress in personal development.
Aga helped me connect with myself, accept my feelings and be kinder to myself.
Thanks to her guidance I feel so much better now. It seems like a fresh start! My mind is clear and I am calmer, happier and at peace. This makes me a better parent and spouse. I found more balance in my life. There is still a lot on my plate in my daily life, but I feel hopeful.”