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When You Sabotage Yourself and Your Surroundings to avoid Feeling the Pain

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

We all have blind spots, and sometimes, we catch ourselves sabotaging our own growth and the well-being of those around us. In this blog post, I want to share a personal experience that taught me the importance of allowing myself and others to feel their feelings, especially when it comes to goodbyes.

Growing up in the countryside in the south of Austria, I had always been deeply connected to my family. The love and care I experienced throughout my life nurtured a strong attachment to my roots. However, alongside this attachment, I felt a compelling desire to explore and embark on adventures. I noticed that being away from home allowed me to discover hidden talents, stretch myself, and grow in ways that I couldn't within my comfort zone.

Since moving to another country, I have found myself repeatedly facing the heart-wrenching task of saying goodbye. Each time I bid farewell to my family, the weight of the separation takes a toll on me. Despite hoping that it would get easier with time, I discovered that goodbyes remained painful, stirring up intense emotions that resonated within my core. It became clear to me that saying goodbye was my Achilles' heel, a source of great difficulty and turmoil.

Unintentional Sabotage:

After spending some time back home in Austria, I made a conscious decision to approach my most recent departure differently. I openly informed my family that I couldn't bear the dramatic moments of farewell, urging them to remain composed. I practically forbade them, almost a warning, not to cry or be sad about me leaving. So everyone knew, and I noticed that everyone around me was trying to hide their true feelings about my departure the closer the day got. My sister was secretly crying and pretending it was because of something else.

However, there was suddenly a moment where my realization struck me hard...

I, who teach and encourage my clients to feel their emotions, was denying myself and my family that very privilege. I told them to hold back because of my own pain of separation and guilt of leaving. If they didn't show it, it would be easier for me. The realization of my own manipulation hit me like a wave of embarrassment. As someone who guides and supports others in feeling their emotions, I had denied myself and my family that same permission. I understood the importance of acknowledging and processing our feelings, and yet I was actively avoiding them.

"I was robbing both them and me of the opportunity to grieve, to feel the pain of separation, and to honor the depth of our love and connection."

Embracing the Pain of Goodbyes:

Letting go is an inevitable part of life. We constantly find ourselves bidding farewell to people, places, and moments as life unfolds and changes. Goodbyes can be painful, but they also carry a profound beauty. They serve as a reminder of the depth of our love, care, and connections with others. It is essential to allow ourselves and those around us to feel the full range of emotions that accompany goodbyes.

Learning to Allow Vulnerability:

True growth and healing come from allowing ourselves AND others to be vulnerable, to acknowledge that it's okay not to be okay. Goodbyes may still be painful, but in embracing the pain, we learn to appreciate the love and connections we have.

The Beauty in Goodbyes:

Letting go is a painful process, but despite the pain, there is a profound beauty in the act of saying goodbye. It serves as a testament to the love, care, and connections we share with others. Through the pain, we recognize the depth of our emotions and the significance of the relationships we cherish. Goodbyes are a reminder of how fortunate we are to have humans who touch our lives in meaningful ways.

Approaching the process of letting go with grace:
  1. Closure and Moving Forward: Letting go with grace allows us to find closure and move forward in a healthy and positive way. It enables us to acknowledge the end of a chapter while opening ourselves up to new beginnings and possibilities.

  2. Emotional Honesty: By approaching goodbyes with grace, we honor our emotions and the significance of the relationships or experiences that are coming to an end. It means allowing ourselves and others to feel deeply, acknowledging the mix of emotions that arise, and giving ourselves permission to process them.

  3. Respecting the Connection: Approaching the process with grace means showing respect and gratitude for that connection, valuing the experiences shared, and leaving on a positive note. It can help preserve the memories and honor the impact the relationship has had on our personal growth.

  4. Strengthening Relationships: Letting go with grace can contribute to maintaining healthy and positive relationships, even after goodbyes. It demonstrates maturity, understanding, and respect for the other person's feelings, fostering the potential for future connections or reconnections.

  5. Finding Beauty in Transitions: While goodbyes can be painful, approaching them with grace enables us to find beauty in the bittersweet nature of transitions. It reminds us of the depth of our emotions, the value of human connections, and the growth that comes from embracing change. It encourages us to cherish the love and experiences shared, even as we let go.

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