Not too long ago I read an article about emotional healing. The article was written from a psychological perspective, and gave tips about how to “heal” from suffering and sadness. While the tidbits of advice were perhaps helpful to some, they seemed to be merely superficial. Rather than solving the root cause of ones emotional distress, they recommended placing small band aids on “open wounds,” temporarily placating the pain.

I was left thinking to myself, what exactly do we mean when we say, I need to heal? Heal from what? Where does this suffering and dis-ease come from? Is it real? Have you looked at your suffering? I mean really looked at it? Does it have a size and shape? Is it small and colorless? Have you touched it? Tasted it? Or is it a sensation driven by unmet desires and expectations? A sensation we have categorized and labeled.

If we begin looking at the cause of our anxiety, regardless how trivial we might think the cause to be, we might find that feelings of frustration and unmet desires come from a place of expectation. Expectations of ourselves and of others – I want to be the best boss possible – I make a mistake – I am not living up to my own expectations. I am suffering. I want him to think of my needs – He doesn’t – I am hurt because he is not doing as I expected. This makes me suffer. It is a cycle of self manifesting unmet demands.

One doesn’t need a list of sugar coated “healing for dummies” hints like, “be yourself” or “invent yourself.”All we have to do is look head on at our expectations and the patterns we have formed regarding what we want, how we want it and from who.

So my tip to you is this: Make your own list. But let it be an honest built list of those things you expect of yourself and others. Ask yourself where these expectations came from. Are they are rational? Are they of great importance? Do they essentially set you up for disenchantment?

And, each time you find yourself in a place of anguish, try asking yourself if it could be due to having made or sustained unnecessary expectations for yourself or someone else.

This will not take the pain away, not immediately, there are not quick fixes in life. It is a daily practice. It may, however, help in the way of diminishing the duration of said suffering. Simply becoming aware of ones own patterns often cancels them out altogether. Finally, by uncovering the absurdity of nurturing these self-sabotaging behaviors an awakening will take place inside you. Things like break ups and failures will simply shift from a labeling of suffering to that which is: Experience, experiences that enrich your everyday life.

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