lou bevacqui

 Emotional Ignorance: The Greatest Pain of All


“Yeah, I’m still not talking to my brother.” My client says firmly, confident in what he just said. I’ve been an acupuncturist for over 25 years and I’ve been working with emotional resilience as a coach for almost as long. I can tell he’s not as comfortable as he’s pretending to be with what he said. While he’s stating it like it’s a fact, it sounds like a practiced declaration, not something that he really believes in. He seems uncomfortable talking about it further, almost in a hurry to move on to another subject. Of course I let him steer the conversation to other things, but there’s a lingering energy. As a practitioner in both disciplines that focuses on energy, I can’t ignore it if I want to help. He’s here for me to treat his leg pain, not patch things up with his brother. I’m gonna stick to that. But not realizing that one discomfort (emotional pain) can impact or add to another (physical pain) can keep you from healing. 

So here’s the thing: energy is energy. Emotions are just energy-in-motion. On a physiological level we are made of energy. We create energy. We use energy. Your stomach when you digest a cheeseburger, guess what? Uses energy! When you’re ruminating over whether or not you’re gonna get that latte or you’re going to stick to the script of a black coffee at Starbucks? Yep, your brain is consuming energy. When you start to run harder in that 5K because you think you’re finally going to break that record from four years ago, your body, you guessed it, it’s creating and using energy. (Even taking in oxygen is taking in energy).  

You may be asking yourself why the heck you should care about any of this. The truth is you won’t care about a single piece of this until…you’re in pain. Whether you’re in pain because you kicked the soccer ball too hard or you’re holding a grudge that’s lasted over 18 years with a family member, causing resentment, anger, and pent up hostility, the outcome is the same: your energy is stuck and you’re in pain.

As an acupuncturist over the years I’ve dealt with all kinds of physical pain. People come in with knee pain, back pain, you name it. My treatments help move this energy and unblock it. This isn’t the only kind of stagnation of energy. Emotions get stuck as well and when they do, they cause pain.

By learning how to identify and understand your emotions, you avoid the greatest pain of all–the pain of emotional ignorance. Emotional ignorance is not having an understanding or vocabulary to express the emotions that you were feeling in your body. When this happens, it sits inside, stuck and stagnant for days, months, even years. Think about it like this: you have a broken leg. It hurts to high heaven. Nobody can see it on the outside. Yet you know it’s broken because it’s killing you and you have a limp, but mysteriously no one can see it. You try to explain it, but you don’t know where to start. Since nobody can see your injury you feel almost silly bringing it up. I mean come on…nobody else is talking about it. 

You think back to when you were in school. Has anybody ever actually mentioned this mysterious yet very real for you broken leg “thing.”  Nope. There are some books that describe that there could be a broken leg, and what it could feel like, but they are few and far between. So you bury your pain under shame and embarrassment… You go about trying to live the rest of your life with this severe pain in your leg that you can’t express to anyone. Sympathy or empathy is out of the question for you because you wouldn’t be able to identify that it was coming from someone else anyway. It probably looks like pity, and they really don’t get you anyway… That’s what your anger would tell you, not that you’ve ever met before, since you don’t know what it feels like, or at least you can’t describe it.  

I can go on and on with this, but I think you know where this is going. Whether the pain is emotional, physical, or mental, it’s all the same. It’s all energy that is stuck in your body and needs to get moving. Learning how to understand your emotions, identifying them and how they feel inside of you. Learn why they’re there and if they’re useful for anything that’s going on at the moment. If not? Just acknowledging the emotion allows it to flow smoothly through you, and then you can start thinking about how you want to feel. What are the relationships you want to build? What life do you want to build? What have you been holding yourself back from doing? Don’t get held back with all that shame or shelf judgment. That inner critic voice, a voice that you’re hearing that’s telling you you should’ve known this all along, there’s something wrong with you and you should feel bad… Well, that’s a blog for another time or you can look back in the ones I’ve already written.

It’s now my client’s third treatment. At this point, he’s open to talking more about his brother. I’m not talking about why he’s right and his brother is wrong, blah blah blah. I’m not talking about solving the issue between them. I’m talking about him being open to just talking about the fact that he has a relationship with his brother, no matter what it looks like right now. That alone–the ability to understand that he’s frustrated with his relationship with his brother–that’s enough to get that energy moving. That’s enough to help ease the pain.

If you would like to learn tools and skills to help you improve your emotional aptitude, reduce your emotional isolation, lessen your avoidance of shame, fear, and anxiety, and enable yourself to reach your goals, break old habits, or create new ones, I can help. I provide emotional resilience coaching, so you can achieve your goals.  We can meet either virtually or in person at my office in Waterbury, Vermont.  Just click the button or the link below for a free consultation and let’s talk. 

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