In doing inner work, things often get worse before getting better.

This is a point that bears repeating as many people think that feeling uncomfortable in any way is a sign that they’re doing something wrong. At certain times, feeling worse is normal and a sign that you’re doing things right in your spiritual inner work.

Feeling “More Worse”

When things feel bad, we assume that they ARE bad. Certainly if you step on a thorn, that IS bad. If you get caught continually thinking depressive, angry, or anxious thoughts, that’s unhealthy too.

But in the context of processing old pain that has gotten stuck inside you, that pain speaks to us in pain. Pain is its language. So when it comes up, we feel the pain. Learning to surrender without fueling the pain or resisting it is how we release it.

5 Misunderstandings About Surrender

The Desire for Comfort

The human desire for comfort is a powerful one. It often overrides our conscious understanding of a situation. For instance, exercise is kind of uncomfortable. It requires a certain amount of discipline to do to overcome the comfort of lounging on your couch eating chips. One is clearly more healthy than the other, yet our desire for comfort often wins out.

This desire is a major problem for doing inner work because it will look for ways to avoid the pain that needs to be expressed.

Avoiding Deeper Work

Another problem is shallow inner work. Many people don’t fully release issues. They like to work at only the mind level, and others may only go so far as the heart level. But the body and energy levels have to be cleared too. If they aren’t healed, the issue grows back.

Additionally, releasing from the body is powerfully uncomfortable at times. Many people run away when the body-energy starts to express an old pain or wound. This avoidance keeps them trapped in pain.

In a simple metaphor, consider what happens if you clip the top part of the weed, but leave the stem and the root. It grows back.

Avoiding Yourself and Lack of Self-commitment

Getting Used to Feeling Bad

Getting used to feeling bad isn’t giving up. When we surrender correctly, we actually are empowered. We are now in a position to resolve an old pain rather than running from it, seeking comfort to mask it, fighting it, fixing it, and doing a whole host of things to make it go away. No. We sit with it. We relax into it, and we feel terrible.

The Crescendo and the Release

As the pain rises it, it tends to reach a crescendo. That’s the point when it feels the worst, and our ego thinks it can’t take it anymore.

Take a breath.

Then another.

Because you’re on the cusp.

One more breath and relaxing and surrendering again for the hundredth time, then something lets go. Something releases.

And you’ve become free of that layer of pain.

Honoring the Timing and Inconvenience of Healing

Finally, these things release on their own time-table, not yours. Learning to honor the inconvenience of healing and its individual timing are parts of releasing an issue and finding freedom from it.

Additional Resources

Here are some more resources to help you appreciate how healing works and how to be with these “more worse” times so that you not only heal but become more resilient and strong.

How to De-energize Old Pain with Relaxation

Building a Mind Strong Enough for Awakening

How to Find and Release Physical Pain During a Spiritual Awakening

Sabotaging the Healing Process and Running When it Gets Tough


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.


  1. thank you so much for all your posts, they are so helpful I relate so much, like probably everyone does. I resonate with this particular post as well – since about two years when I am allowing myself to fully feel whatever is coming up my body reacts intensely. I am sure there is more to it but it is really great to allow it to happen. thanks again.

  2. You're welcome. I'm glad that you're finding the courage to allow feelings and emotions to arise. Keep breathing. Use the breath to relax through the difficult experiences. Stay as the observer to neutrally watch what comes up without getting lost in a bunch of scared thinking. This will help you to process through what you are experiencing.

  3. Love your whole website. So much excellently presented information. Definitely synchronicity here. I am presently working with a woman who is in the midst of some heavy clearing. She just passed one of those points of revelation and release that bring so much optimism, but are also a prelude for that deeper more difficult backlash as these other layers start to peel away. I had just a day or two ago told her much the same as you presented in this article. I will pass it along to her.
    Thank you and Many Blessings,

  4. You're welcome, Gwen. Be sure to help your student stabilize after the next clearing. Stabilization is key so the person can gain strength as they breakdown old pain and get strong enough for the next layer after that.

  5. This post came at just the right time. I experienced an inner mean girl attack the other day that was large and in charge. I took to breath after I let her rant and I went into reflection to see what it was that she was so fearful of. Lots of changes in a small amount of time. I stayed dedicated through the pain and I eventually became the observer and then was able to realize why she was going off the deep end. Doing this work and staying committed to helping heal her fears, kept me from going all the way down the rabbit hole. This may have been a space that I would have resided with her and her pain in the past, but instead it was me leading her out of the darkness with new thoughts and beliefs. I have recently created my own blog about healing our thoughts and beliefs. I feel that we can never have too much information to help us on our journey. I would love to share your site on my site as a resource for others to learn. Can you let me know if that would be OK. I like your vibe and your sharing. Thank you Tammy

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