When we have unpleasant experiences, whether it is physical pain or mental pain, what normally happens is we don’t like it, we resist it, and then the result is we start hating ourselves for it. By hating such experiences, by resisting such experiences, by disliking them, sometimes we might be giving them more power and more energy. So loving-kindness can be used in this context by making friends with this situation that you are experiencing.
A phrase I like to use sometimes is just to tell yourself: It is O.K. that I don’t feel O.K. You make friends with it, are open to it, then you can explore, investigate, learn about what you are going through.
Sometimes we may have such an experience when we have unrealistic goals in life, when we have expectations how we should behave, how others should behave, how life should be. Sometimes we can be making strong demands of how things should be. And when these demands are met we’re happy but when these demands are not met, this is where we start to suffer, this is where we start to hate ourselves, hate others and hate life. So with friendliness you can learn to find out, learn, explore, more about what you are really going through.
Find out whether this condition is created by thought, whether it is created by emotion, or whether it is created by sensation. Sometimes when we have such unpleasant experiences it’s a very good practice to spend some time with the sensations in the body or with the breath in the body. That technique can help you to create some space and then you’ll realise that these sensations are changing all the time. So if we can really be open to the sensations, whatever we are experiencing in our mind and body, and open to the changes, then whatever happens to a great extent you’ll be able to relate to it in a different way.