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When you numb your pain, you numb you joy! STAY OPEN!

Negative energy is an interesting thing. We tend to dislike it – and it makes sense. It’s not fun to experience either giving or receiving. But, it’s a part of life – and to deny this part of life is to deny life.

My mom said something REALLY wise to me last week. She has had MASSIVE back troubles in her life – surgery, dying and coming back from it and she is a token of perseverance and rising above the diagnoses of doctors. She has had a relationship with pain her whole adult life. And if anyone is justified in being negative, it’s her.

And you know what – she’s not. She is my constant spiritual teacher in being cool, calm, collected and present. We talk pretty much every day and it’s something I’ve done for the last 11 years since I moved to L.A. Last week she said, “When you numb your pain, you numb your joy.”

And this is a BIG statement coming from HER. She knows A LOT about pain because she lives with it daily. And it really got me thinking. I get asked all the time how folks can “be open, but not feel pain.” And that’s just not how it works. And my mom’s wise statement pretty much sums up why. When we are open to life, we are open to pain. And life is a duality. Positive and negative. To be open, is to be open to both.

The KEY is in how WE interpret these energies. It’s easy to interpret positive energy in a powerful way. It’s not so easy to interpret negative energy this way. It’s damn hard. It’s almost impossible.

But that is one of the keys to happiness, fulfillment and spiritual growth – to be open and to give negative energy an EMPOWERING meaning. I didn’t say – make negative positive. NO. And I didn’t say DENY negative energy, I said give negative energy an EMPOWERING meaning. That means to learn the lesson, see it in a way that honors the negative’s existence, but doesn’t make you dwell in it.

Hurt, pain, anger, loss – all these are natural parts of life. To stop ourselves from living because we do not want to go to these emotive places is to stop ourselves from living at all. As we open to life, we open to all of life. And that’s what we signed up for in this human experience. To be on this rollercoaster and to not let it consume us, but instead, to become steadfast enough in our practice where we feel – and float with it – instead of against it.

When we are open to life in its BRILLIANCE, BEAUTY, JOY, ABUNDANCE and its HURT, PAIN, TRAGEDY and SADNESS – then we are fully alive. And as we open to the negative, it also gives us more empathy for the negative that others are experiencing – and this tends to unite us.

Don’t cut yourself off from life because you only want to feel the good and are scared of feeling the negative. The journey is worth it. The pain is a teacher. The negativity brings us lessons that we NEED to learn. Stay open.

The awesome conversation always gets rockin’ on the BLOG, so head on over there and let’s keep the conversation going in the comments section. And let’s support each other to stay OPEN to life!

Lots of LOVE,

Mastin

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Mastin Kipp is the CEO and Founder of The Daily Love. Follow him on Twitter here.

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  • Nina

    This is right on…Its EXACTLY how I feel. Thankyou Mastin

  • Anonymous

    Good morning Mastin and TDL community… I’m going to dive right in. I recently acknowledged that I have been numb for the last couple years of my life. After a dragging divorce, gaining and loosing a close friend and opening my eyes to who my new lover truly was (NOT KIND TO ME and I say it this way because I believe that we all experience eachother differently). I at some point decided I would be better off feeling nothing. I have known this for a while but it’s only recently that I ACKNOWLEDGED it and have decided to walk out of the fog! With the help of TDL, a new perspective and my childhood friends I’m coming back to myself but in a new way. She’s amazing, full of possibilities and opportunities this old/new me. Anyway your mom is right on the money! When I was in the eye of the storm of numbing my feelings I was extremely depressed and could barely see past my own nose. I was to afraid of getting hurt. I am ready now to take the good with the bad, embrace both and give each experience a powerful meaning. I’m ready to learn and grow more than I ever have!!! Thank you for your support!!!

  • http://www.theheartofthriving.blogspot.com/ Brooke Baker

    This has been really tricky for me to navigate particularly at work.  I work in an incredibly toxic environment.  Being a therapist it is hard to stay open and warm and therapeutic when I’m not feeling supported by my managers and colleagues.  Time and again I’ve let the negativity get the best of me and I become so resentful and negative myself.  What I try to do now is see the pain I experience at work as character building.  I allow it to strengthen me without hardening me.  It ain’t easy but it sure makes me appreciate the love and joy I experience in my personal life with my wonderful friends and family! 
    @Brooke_R_Baker:twitter 

    • lizilynx

      I LOVE that you been able to see the pain you’re experiencing at work as ‘character building!” You have brought some GREAT & TREASURED memories back to me through your sharing about your growth! My grandmother used to say, when I was going through a ‘tough’ moment in life, “This is a character-building moment.” She said this often enough, that as a teenager, I remember replying to her, lovingly, of course, “Then I guess I’m going to grow up to be be quite a character!” She & I would always laugh afterwards. I always appreciated her outlook on these ‘growing moments’ – and was inspired by her ability to keep her sense of humor, regardless of what circumstances were playing out in the moment.
      THANK YOU for sharing how you empowered yourself in a difficult environment!
      BEAUTIFUL :o)

      • http://www.theheartofthriving.blogspot.com/ Brooke Baker

        Thanks for this lovely message!  I love your response to your grandmother – I might have to start using that one too.  It used to tick me off so much when people would respond to my troubles with “this is character building” because I thought it was invalidating but I realize now that it is so true and so I try to stay grateful and open to the tough experiences and what they have to teach me.  and indeed a sense of humor is so important!
        I’m following you on Twitter now, btw ;)  Great to connect with you!

  • Amanda

    I’ve dealt with depression for the past 12 years.  I’m now in my mid-30s and have lowered my anti-depressant medication as well as stopped using my ADD and bipolar meds (with doctor’s consent, of course).  One thing I’ve noticed with these changes is that I’ve been using these medications to numb myself from reality.  I have cried more in these past 2 months and while it bothers me, I tell myself that it’s natural to feel these feelings.  I feel more alive!  Even though, I’m feeling pain, worry and anxiety, I am happy to have these feelings instead of being immune to them.  I’ve learned to rely on myself instead of a medication.  It’s a liberating feeling!

    • Sarina

      Hi Amanda, I can only imagine what your body is going through with the adjustment. You are so strong for beginning this change and I praise you! 

  • Katrina

    I feel pain oh so much but it never seems to be equaled out with a feeling of joy. How does that work?

  • PorterHouse

    Exactly What I needed to hear. Thank you.

  • Jess

    “To be human is to be vulnerable, I may be vulnerable to my experiences but I’m invincible in my resolve.” Thats my favorite quote! I can’t remember who’s it is and google isn’t being cooperative..but since I’ve found it thats been my life in a nutshell. Being emotionall vulnerable is what makes us HUMAN, whats makes us so complex and versatile..but instead of wallowing in despair when sadness happens I acknowledge it, i feel it fully then I repeat the same thing in my head over and over until I have an answer “How will I use this to make me better?” The answer doesnt always come at first but as long as I stay focussed on those  words clarity always comes. I was depressed for many many years..implementing simple little things like this have made all the difference. Now I’m ready to feel it all instead of run from it. Bless.

  • Sarina

    Mastin, I can’t even tell you how amazed I was to read what you wrote. JUST YESTERDAY… I opened up to my mom about how much negativity there is around me at the current moment (indirect negative energy from very important people in my life).. and how I was trying SO HARD TO PUSH IT AWAY… but it kept flooding back into my life. I should have been more open and accepting of the issues and I wouldn’t have to deal with the constant self-battle. Thank you Mastin!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.meindl Anthony Meindl

    To allow yourself to feel gives you the freedom to grow!

  • Jilly

    This is beautiful. I experienced a very powerful an encounter yesterday along these very same lines: (please excuse the copy and paste from FB :-)

    [A woman stopped me in a store today to complain about having been solicited by a father and daughter team asking for money on the street corner. She went on and on about how "it's a shame when people are in the midst of hard knocks but that she doesn't want to be interrupted while walking down the street and asked for money when she herself doesn't have anything to spare". She then went on to complain about how she "was just discussing this matter with another passer-by, when said passerby explained that they needed to keep moving and that they are sorry they can't talk". To which she then added that she "can't understand why someone can't take a moment to listen to her..." The very apparent paradoxical truth to this encounter hit me hard, and it was almost as if I could SEE the loneliness she felt surrounding her. So, I listened. It was a tornado of negativity spewing from her mouth, but I stood there, and listened. She needed to speak, and be heard. She needed her suffering validated somehow, and even though it really, REALLY wasn't what I wanted to be doing at that moment, I listened. When she seemed to vomit it all out, I simply smiled and said, "well, I hope you have a really nice rest of your day." All she said was, "oh, ok! well thanks!" and smiled and turned to walk away...]

    It’s crazy how other people’s pain can trigger a chain of discomfort in all beings. What I learned from the incident is that; maybe, if we could all make more of a conscious effort to break the chain by recognizing the knee jerk reaction it triggers in us, that possibly a simple shift in our OWN awareness will create a new chain. Of hope? Peace? Who knows…<3 

  • http://butterflymaiden7.blogspot.com/ Kathleen Reynolds Chelquist

    Darn it..my message got erased.  Big breath…One quote sums it all, “Pain is an unavoidable part of life and when you are willing to choose love-you will learn the difference between pain and suffering.” Cinnamon Lofton.   Thanks Mastin for another awesome entry. butterflymaiden7.blogspot.com/ 

  • dap

    Happiness can never be found within sterile circumstances devoid of hardships. True happiness  derives from the sense of fulfillment and joy that comes from the depth of our lives as we make efforts moment by moment amid the realities of our daily existence.
    When we possess both wisdom and compassion for ourselves and others, this is joy..

  • NS16

    This is incredible. There’s so many of these ‘self-help’ kind of websites that tell you that everything needs to be positive all the time – all your thoughts should be positive, your entire being should be positive. It’s so much easier said than done. Thank you for always being so realistic in your positivity!

    • mastin

      LOVE this!!!!

  • boo

    Thank you for this! I have been feeling a lot of pain over the past week or so.  Feeling a sense of betrayal and abandonment by a loved one
    .  It is all ironic as there have been wonderful things happening also this week.  Great things to be very grateful for.  And I am.  But I’ve been crying everyday.  And I rarely cry. I feel loss and unable to move.  Feeling stuck but intellectually knowing I’m not stuck.  Your blog has helped me see that I need to embrace the pain to fully live.  However, while in the pain, how do you move on and be yourself? How do you ‘fight’ againsts yourself so you can embrace all the good that is coming your way?

    • lizilynx

      Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us and asking such critical questions! Letting yourself ‘feel’ your feelings, by crying, is a natural & healthy release that goes with a feeling of loss, in my experience; allowing myself to ‘feel’ my feelings HELPS me MOVE THROUGH the loss and, for me, the temporary feeling of victimization – also natural- and onto moving into making empowered meaning of the pain. I ask The Uni-verse, “What is the lesson I’m learning from this experience?” The answer comes…sometimes with some time, but it ALWAYS COMES, as long as I remember to keep asking the question. I see the process you’re describing less as a fight against myself, and more of AN ACCEPTANCE of the pain as part of the lesson The Uni-verse is teaching me in the moment. I also look for the fear BEHIND the pain, turn towards it, and allow myself to ‘feel’ it, too; for me, recognizing the fear behind the pain is a key to MOVING THROUGH the pain, and the fear underlying it, rather than ‘fighting’ against myself. (I am very familiar with this ‘fight against yourself’ you wrote about!) My experience has shown me – and I’ve had others share this same experience that they had, too – that ACCEPTANCE is a much more effective tool than ‘fighting against’ it to get unstuck out of the moment and begin moving forward again.
      When I feel like I’ve been betrayed and/or abandoned by a loved one, I check in with myself, first – I ask myself and The Uni-verse, “What is the truth? What do I need to recognize about my part of the relationship? Have I betrayed or abandoned myself? (e.g. have I betrayed or abandoned one of my principles or standards of life?) Am I in a toxic relationship? By gaining clarity on my own actions, I’m looking at my relationship with myself first and looking at if I have been loving myself, not in a narcissistic way, but a healthy way.
      In Gratitude and LOVE for you!

  • http://www.story-coach.com/ Lisa

    Brene Brown’s wonderful TED talks deal with this…if we resist feeling the shame and vulnerability we end up become numbed to joy.  Tough path to follow but seems the only one worthwhile….thanks!

    • Savvystefi

      Great talk…I’d highly recommend it.

  • http://32in32.com/ Pauline Hawkins

    People ask me how I can have so much joy when I’ve had so much pain in my life. It’s like you said, I’ve given the pain meaning in my life–I have joy because the pain. Pain has shown me how many other things in life are completely beautiful. Pain has made me realize what is truly incredible inmy life , and I try not to take anything or anyone for granted.

  • Vedura

    I numb pain and I feel joy. Some of us are chemically disposed to feel too deeply. Anti-depressants gave me the gift, at age 60, to begin to understand why anyone would want to live. So don’t put it down. Some of us need medication.