When something hurts more than it should, there is always a deeper hurt that is being remembered. It's often buried in our subconscious and takes a bit of work to coax out into the light. This happened to me yesterday. I spent an hour talking through an issue with a friend, trying to figure out why it was making me so crazy with emotion. We can't see the big picture when we are mired in our own pain, and when new hurts open up old ones, the pain is much worse.
I'm grateful for friends willing to take the time to help. It felt like a counseling session. I needed someone to say, "Isn't it possible you are feeling this way because you experienced this as a child?" or "Maybe this is triggering your fears in this specific area and that's why you are so upset about it." Making those connections to parts of your past is like trying a handful of keys in a lock and finding the one that opens the door. When the door swings open and the light comes into the dark room, the pressure on you evaporates and you can think clearly again.
I think of these moments as epiphanies; moments of great insight which have the power to change us. Epiphanies are rare but if we search for them when we need them, our minds will show us the way if we will allow enough time and space for the connection to be made. Most new hurts open up old wounds, and mess with our heads because the emotion is so overpowering. Yesterday I felt like a 5 year old child when I realized what was really going on. Recognizing that, and realizing that I'm not actually insane, was a powerful moment of change. I knew I had found the key and could move forward to resolve the problem without all of the emotion swirling and causing me to take everything so personally.
I read a snippet of advice in a People magazine yesterday. Betsy Myers, a senior Obama campaign advisor said, "Don't be oversensitive. I have learned that 99 percent of life is not personal." Yesterday this advice was spot-on for me.
The other thing I have learned in this process is that no one can make me feel anything. I am always in control of my own emotions, except of course when they run away on me, but I can get them back under my reins. No one makes us do anything or feel anything. We must stand up to pressure and say, firmly and clearly, "No." When our emotions make it hard for us to do this, spend an hour with a friend and get to the bottom of what is really going on. The result will be a connection made, a feeling of freedom and joy, and the courage to move forward to create a positive change.