How to let go of emotional pain

In this article, I will teach you how to let go of emotional pain by building doors, not walls for your unwanted emotions. I will also explain why building emotional walls around you is not helpful and will only trigger more painful feelings and experiences.

Moreover, I will show you how to understand, accept and manage your unwanted feelings. I will present the best 3 therapies and other practices that can help you achieve the life you have always wanted.

Understanding unwanted feelings

Negative emotions are heavy baggage that slowly burns you down”- Tonmoy Acharjee

Over the years, we’ve learned to avoid things that cause us pain. When it comes to emotions, we are no different. Some emotions feel terrible so we’ve built walls around us in order to avoid these emotions.

We perceive our unwanted emotions as our enemies that try to conquer, enslave and ruin us. So we try to stop their impact on us by using disconnection, denial, numbness, distraction, avoidance or anger. However, these defence mechanisms are not effective as they trigger the opposite of the desired effect.


Why avoiding your unwanted emotions can help them take over you

“Negative emotions are like waves – they rise up to their peak and then fall and fade away. We avoid negative emotions because they feel so bad, but also because they can sometimes feel like they will stay forever. We can become afraid that that sadness and loneliness or fear represents “reality” and that once we give into it that is what our life will be like. The truth is, when you open up to your negative emotions, they will come and they will go.”- Unknown

They make you afraid. When you build emotional walls you give the unwanted emotions the power to surprise you. They become like monsters in the shadows and you will live your life trying to avoid them at all costs. This will stop you from taking the risks that will untimely contribute to the life you desire.

They make you feel guilty. Sometimes, no matter how much you try to defend yourself from the unwanted feelings, they will conquer and destroy your walls and find their way to you. As a result, you will not only experience the unwanted emotions, but also the emotions that arise from failing to defend yourself. Moreover, the inability to stop an emotion increases the amount of pain you experience.

You will re-live your painful emotions. Every time you try to avoid experiencing a painful emotion, you give it the power to control you. Your brain uses your past to predict the future. When you avoid at all costs emotions and feelings, you signal your brain to actively search for these emotions that trigger your pain. Paradoxically, you re-live the experience and the painful emotions in an attempt to avoid them.

They prevent you from feeling. When you suppress emotions, you give them the power to control you. They will grow around your walls and come in different and unexpected ways. Emotions that are not felt cannot be healed. Therapy and meditation are important tools you can use to become aware of hidden and unwanted emotions. The key is to learn how to live with the painful feelings, observe the negative impact they have in your life without identifying yourself with them and then let them go.

Open your door to unwanted feelings

”Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” – Hermann Hesse

Building walls will prevent you from living the life you desire. It will keep you stuck, in fear and unable to take risks and uncover your full potential.

You learn to build walls since early age and most of the time, you are not even aware that they exist. You build your life around them and they become part of who you are and how you think about yourself.

When you accept that you cannot prevent emotions, you begin to develop feelings and behaviours that will help you cope with them instead of avoiding them. With time, practice and understanding of your emotions, you will learn how to let them in, but in your own terms. Learn more about how to master your emotions here.

How do you learn to break those walls and build doors to lead you towards the life you always wanted? There are different practices and therapies that will help you learn how to manage and control painful feelings.

There are 3 main therapies that can help you understand, accept and learn how to master your emotions:

1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a common approach aiming to help you recognise your thoughts and how they influence your actions. It focuses on the present moment and it helps you let go of the past and concentrate on what you can change in the present.

The aim of CBT is to realise how much the issues affect you and your well-being and what steps you can take in order to change your thoughts and actions and create positive change. The thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions will be examined and the link between how your unwanted emotions influence your actions will be closely analysed.

During CBT therapy, you will also be given the opportunity to look at the situation from another perspective. You will be presented with another choice to think and feel about the perceived problem. This will clarify your thoughts and you will gain a better understanding about how your thoughts and feelings influence your behaviour.

CBT aims to stop a negative cycle that is created by your thoughts. By breaking the cycle and showing a new way to look at the situation in a more positive light, your mental health will improve and you will be able to challenge and replace negative thoughts and unwanted feelings.

2. Psychodynamic counselling aims to challenge your past in order to understand your present. It helps you gain insight on how your early childhood experiences affect your present days. The aim is to recognise ongoing relationship patterns, interpersonal struggles, personality and your stage of emotional development.

The goal of psychodynamic counselling is to bring self-awareness and self-empowerment in your life. By working towards gaining more understanding of your unwanted emotions, both in the past and present, you can heal past emotional wounds and shift unhealthy relationship patterns and behaviours.

Psychodynamic theory also argues that human behaviour arises from both conscious and unconscious motives and that the act of talking about problems itself can help people find ways of understanding how their past influences their present behaviour.

3. Humanistic counselling provides you with an opportunity to explore your personal growth and self-development. Humanistic counselling focuses on your understanding of who you are and what you feel.

During humanistic counselling, you will be prompted to acknowledge the variety of your choices and the possibility of creating personal choices. You will also gain self-awareness and self-realisation.

This approach recognises that humans have a tendency to block their full potential by hiding their true feelings and emotions. Humanistic approach aims to create a new opportunity to understand your unwanted emotions and learn how to overcome them.

Depending on personal needs and preferences, you can choose the therapy that will most benefit you. Some counsellors use a combination of these approaches when trying to deal with unwanted feelings. Talk with your counsellor about your preferred therapy and decide together what will best work for you.


Other ways to understand, accept and master your unwanted feelings and emotions

Change your thoughts. Focus on what you want, not what you fear. Your thoughts create your reality. By focusing on pleasant experiences, you will train your mind to look for more positive experiences. Read more about how to change your thoughts here.

Meditate. Meditation can help you understand your thoughts and feelings without getting carried away by them. Also, it allows you not only to notice the thoughts as they appear, but also to make a choice of how you respond to them.

Visualise. Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish reality from imaginary. By visualising positive experiences and emotions, you condition your mind to produce more similar emotions. Create a safe place where you can go when you feel you have no control over your emotions. When you feel unwanted feelings are taking over you, close your eyes and visualise your safe place.

Use words that express self- confidence. Use words that express certainty and self-confidence to change the way you feel about yourself. Avoid using words like ‘I cannot, if, maybe, hope, wish, should, could’ and replace them with ‘I will, I can, certainly, when, definitely, sure’.

Use positive affirmation. Positive affirmations are an important tool that will help you deal with unwanted feelings and emotions. When you start your day with a positive attitude, you will experience the obstacles you face during the day as less significant, feeling more in control of your reaction.

Final thoughts

I hope this article taught you how to replace the emotional walls you have built over the years with doors of opportunity. I wish you the best in your journey towards self-awareness, self-love and self-development.

“Being a positive person doesn’t mean you don’t feel negative emotions. It means you have faith in your ability to get through tough situations, hope for better days and the willingness to see beyond the drama.”- Leticia Rae

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more that happy to answer them.

All the best,


  (Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)

For counselling and coaching appointments scan the QR code or press here.

Spread the love

8 thoughts on “How to let go of emotional pain”

  1. “…When you suppress emotions, you give them the power to control you. They will grow around your walls and come in different and unexpected ways.” – This is so true, and people need to hear what you have to say. I shared your post to help spread the message!

    Being honest with ourselves is one of the best ways to let go of emotional pain, and that’s what people need to understand.

    No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and everyone carries some kind of burden on their chest.

    Learn to let it go, and I promise that you’ll live a more fulfilling life!

    • Hi Gorjan,

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing my article! You are absolutely right, honesty plays an important role in the process; we need to accept our unwanted feelings in order to be able to let them go.

      All the best,

  2. Thanks for your article Ioana.

    A topic that always gets me stirred up. Negative emotions are exactly what is wrong with the human condition… all tied in with ego. I have used all of the techniques mentioned in your article. I was riddled with negative self-talk for many years. It will destroy your soul.

    I walked into the rooms of recovery over 30 years ago and was introduced to a process of looking inward. I went deeper and more unconventional than most in those circles. I went to the self-help aisle and started veering to something more spiritual.

    One technique that helped me was taking a notebook around and writing all of my negative thoughts. This help tremendously. I was able to see how rotten my thoughts were at the time.

    I suffered from childhood trauma. I was able to use techniques from “Code to Joy” to release that trauma from causing a lot of anxiety. I searched far and wide to fix this and now it is just gone. The book presented some interesting techniques with the biosphere. Your energy… but first you have to find out what that trauma is.

    Vernon Howard’s thing was to just feel the feelings until they dissipate. He also talked about the ego and so does Eckhart Tolle. It takes a lot of work and many don’t care. They just drug themselves to death.

    There are just so many stupid tv shows these days. (they are on at work and hard to totally avoid… ugh!) It is like everyone wants to be brain dead. I always appreciate kindred spirits who explore the human mind and emotion and want more control out of life. We have control over how we react to our thoughts. The thoughts will come… what will you do when they do. Sometimes I slip back into ego and let loose a nasty reaction. Its a work in progress… many blessings… Brian

    • Hi Brian,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Your self-love journey is an inspiration to everyone and I hope many people will understand how negative emotions can be addressed. I cannot agree with you more, healing is a long process and not many are willing to do whatever it takes to let go of past emotional trauma, so they choose medication to numb their feelings.

      All the best,

  3. Hi Ioana,

    It’s a good read after a long day working in the office. Your article made my negative thoughts go away because I want to focus on what I want instead of my inner anger brought by my jobs.

    If I didn’t read your article, I am sure that I will not have a good sleep tonight since I got attached to bad emotions too much, so thanks a lot. Your other tips like meditation and visualization also help, so I can see you are providing value today. Love it.


    • Hi Matt,

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to see that my article has helped you relax after a stressful day at work. Meditation and visualisation are important tools you can use to let go of unwanted thoughts.

      Kind regards,

  4. Hello there, One thing that connects us as human beings is our ability to feel pain. Whether that pain is physical or emotional, we all have experiences of being hurt. What separates us though, is how we deal with that pain. Thanks for sharing this awesome article, I hope it helps others.

    • Hi David,

      Thank you for your comment. I cannot agree with you more, the way we deal with pain, learn from it and use it as lessons for the future is what differentiate people.

      Kind regards,


Leave a comment