I recently watched the movie, Dark Phoenix, a Marvel movie about a mutant woman that experiences a surge of energy that activates all of her cells and brings up painful memories from her past that were suppressed by her mentor. She is fueled by rage and loses control.

The message I got from this movie is that her mentor suppressed those memories thinking it would protect her from having to experience the loss of her mother from an accident caused by her mutant powers, and the abandonment of her father. However, that decision turned out to be an error that almost cost the lives of many. If painful experiences or emotions are not dealt with or brought into balance, they eventually will come up to wreak havoc in your life and spread to your friends, loved ones, and acquaintances.

When all these painful memories came flooding back, she was lost and didn’t know how to process the feelings of hurt, loss, abandonment, and guilt. These strong emotions released her shadow self that only wanted to wreak havoc and annihilate everyone and anything. What brought her back to her humanity was love. Recognizing that her emotions made her more powerful, rather than weak, and by taking ownership of her repressed experiences, gave her a newfound strength and ability to transform. Past emotional trauma and hurt, are often the fuel for a lot of behaviors, and most often times, control your actions and reactions to situations, bringing out our “shadow selves.” In the heat of the moment it’s almost impossible not to lose control and act out old emotional patterns. Start identifying your reactions to certain individuals or situations before a big blow out so you can start to see your own triggers.

Identifying your triggers is essential for you to honor your shadow self, and to not suppress strong emotions. Emotions can be a powerful source of energy, and if channeled and focused in the right way, can help you to transform a situation, instead of being a victim of circumstance. Emotions are not good or bad, but usually are caused by a one-sided perception. The moment you can see how a person or situation has both good and bad qualities, the situation loses its emotional charge and control over you. You don’t see the event as hurtful, but just an experience that you went through.

For a long time, I used to consider myself like Teflon, where any painful comments or being dismissed by someone, would simply wash off without sticking. I became an expert at detaching myself from my feelings, and lying to myself that nothing could hurt or affect me.

For the past several years I have been moving out of my comfort zone and allowing myself to feel. I have been becoming more cognizant and identifying when someone, or a particular situation, is hurtful or extremely uncomfortable, instead of being okay with what is happening. I have learned the power of feeling, and being open to experience any uncomfortable feelings and emotions that emerge.

I have been able to recognize how my body responds to those emotions – pain and tightness in different parts of my body, stomach upset, headache to name a few. As challenging as it is to feel, it prevents me from building up resentment and disconnecting. Furthermore I have learned that no one can hurt you, because in principle, only you allow yourself to be hurt.

The cause of the hurt is due to the fact that the other person failed to meet your expectations. The same can be said of anger; many times you may be angry with someone, and yet you are the one who is suffering, allowing the other person to run rent-free in your mind, all while causing elevated blood pressure, muscle tension, and other uncomfortable feelings.

Communicating your feelings and finding clarity will help you to bring some resolution to hurt and anger. This is where courage comes in, and you can choose to speak up or suffer in silence. The choice is always yours.