• John Dunia

Emotional Healing Part I - The Struggles


Photo by LaiLa Skalsky on Unsplash


As this confusing and chaotic year comes to a close, there is no more suitable subject to examine than that of emotional healing. With so many people facing an endless barrage of disappointments and struggles, it’s easy to allow our mental wellness to slip into a downward spin, only compounding those difficulties and intensifying our pain.


The subject of emotional healing has captivated me ever since my own journey began in early 2013. While overcoming my own hurdles, I never hesitated to share them with others, sometimes after meeting a person for the first time. The passion for guiding others on their journeys has only continued to grow.


Understanding the process


Emotional healing can be thought of as a journey, and understanding how the process works can be vital to your success. What I have found to be effective for my clients is to equate many aspects of emotional healing to its physical counterpart. When our skin suffers a small scrape, we know the wound has healed when all signs of the original injury are virtually gone. Likewise, emotional healing can also imply all traces of the original wound have disappeared.


However, not all physical injuries consist of a tiny cut. There are a host of ways we can incur physical ailments. Besides abrasions, there are bruises, broken bones, burns, and severed digits or limbs; each with its own varying degree of severity. In a situation where someone was disfigured, the likelihood of all signs of the original injury being gone is all but out of the question.


In any event, healing must occur. Otherwise, the body will eventually become consumed by infection and end that person’s life. Emotional wounds also occur under untold conditions and comprise a wide range of mentally devastating effects. It is possible the magnitude of some emotional wounds can be likened to third degree burns or a lost limb. But just as in its physical counterpart, healing can occur. It may leave a mental scar as a constant reminder of the original injury, but people also have overcome insurmountable odds and learned to thrive through various challenging conditions.


What does it mean to heal?


One of the first steps I review with clients is to have them consider what it means to heal emotionally. More precisely, what kinds of things will show them healing is being accomplished. Just as there are destinations we plan during our travels, similarly we need to know what milestones emotional healing will unveil along the way.


Our past emotional wounds are what keep us from moving forward. They stifle and sometimes stop us from living a happy, constructive life. If those wounds remain unhealed, they may become a “normal” part of life causing that person to believe healing will never be possible and becoming their worst predicament ever.


Some people also try to mask their wounds with alcohol, drugs or other debilitating habits believing it will help them forget their misery. Other times, they will use their emotional devastations as excuses why they are trapped in these addictive behaviors.


By no means do I want to criticize or condemn anyone for the difficulties they’ve suffered. It is my belief we all can heal from even the darkest of emotional wounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s a painless path. It can be extremely difficult but emotional healing allows us to thrive despite those wounds.


There is no one formula and the remedies are rarely simple. Again, when we look at healing from a physical standpoint, it can be vastly complicated as well. Modern medicine has developed 14 surgical categories each with its own areas of expertise. There are also nurses to provide care and physical therapists to assist patients during the healing process.

People who suffer from major traumas don’t perform surgery on themselves. They are not their own nurses, nor do they prescribe their own medication. The same is true for emotional wounds. It often requires someone trained with the proper techniques with the knowledge and experience to help them implement those methods and guide them on their emotional healing journey.


The biggest obstacle I encounter with my clients is most have no idea what they need to do in order to heal. While many have the desire and really want to change, all their best efforts never seemed to garner any progress, leaving them with the assumption healing is impossible and will never occur.


I had the incredible fortune of meeting a great therapist who was able to correctly guide me along my journey. It was in conjunction with him and other mental health professionals, I developed teachable and understandable techniques to help people along their journeys.


Next week, we’ll delve into some of those. However, I wanted to end with one today. My personal conviction is the more we understand why these techniques work, the more effective they will be. Talking to someone, for instance, about your emotional hurt does work and there’s an explanation why. Frequently, the emotional damage was so tormenting and left such devastation it caused us to feel very shameful and we dared not convey this anyone. Perhaps the perpetrator also threatened us never to talk about it and we did our best to forget it happened. There is also a very real concern verbalizing it will stir up painful memories and no one wants to suffer needless agony.


However, most people experience a huge sense of relief the moment they begin to open up. This relief is without a doubt a sign of healing, but why? First of all, it’s important to speak to someone whom you trust and who will show empathy, love, and concern for the damage you suffered. Admitting what happened to you is also accepting the tragedy you experienced. Verbalizing it leads to the awareness it was not your fault, and you can more easily forgive yourself for ever feeling poorly about what happened and the horrible things you may have thought about yourself. The most effective and beneficial form of emotional healing happens when we first learn to forgive ourselves.


My thanks to LaiLa Skalsky on Unsplash for the wonderful picture. If you enjoyed this article, please like and share it. If you want to find out more about emotional healing or schedule a private consultation, reach out to me at this website or email me at john@shamedoctor.com. Thank you and I look forward to your comments.

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