Fortunately, the subject of emotional healing has been at the forefront for many people who previously may have contemplated very little on this timely and crucial topic. Although it may have been initiated by one of the worst pandemics this world has ever experienced, none the less, it is an essential matter for anyone looking to live a fulfilled and purpose-filled life.
Unfortunately and all too often, when emotional healing is discussed, the substance of the discussion is focused primarily on why it is important, lacking effective ideas and good advice instrumental in accomplishing it. Each time I hear the subject discussed on a podcast or other forms of media examining this issue, I wonder if the reason healing information or techniques are not examined is because they don’t have an extensive understanding of how emotional healing is accomplished.
Sound the trumpet
Before I delve into some techniques which have been helpful for my clients, it’s imperative to mention these techniques may not be beneficial in your situation. For example, several decades ago, I taught trumpet lessons to beginning students. Each student was in the same room and had an instrument which I could check to make sure it was not in need of repair. If I were to attempt to teach that same person online and with a faulty instrument, it would be difficult at best for the student to progress.
As this pertains to emotional healing, we can think of “life” as that trumpet. We all have played it, and emotional damage can keep the trumpet from performing at its best. Small scratches and nicks rarely have any impact on its overall performance. However, large dents can make it difficult or render it impossible to play. In order to restore the instrument, it may require the work of an expert.
Likewise, emotional healing happens in various ways as well as triggering countless degrees of damage. Providing the best advice on how to heal from extreme verbal abuse may have no impact on someone who suffers from continual failed relationships. Referring to the previous trumpet analogy, if there is damage to the valves, performing pristine repair work on the bell will not transform it into an optimally performing instrument.
Most of my work on emotional healing is geared toward people who have experienced damage around some form of shame. They typically have been involved in a scenario where they caused harm to someone or someone else inflicted injury on them. Shame, by its definition, fosters emotional damage because it leaves behind a false sense of who we are. It cements upon us the appalling judgments others perceived us to be and for many reasons, we accept their harsh viewpoints. Acknowledging their erroneous beliefs about ourselves typically increases the dire and disastrous thoughts we perceive about ourselves.
In my case, my own shame was so overpowering at times I would delight in finding situations which underscored and “proved” my shortcomings. It was easier for me to accept I was unworthy of good things rather than to search for the good which I constantly buried. No matter how much I believed others were worthy or deserved good things, I rarely felt I was valuable enough to merit anything. Complicating my journey was I also had been taught thinking anything good or positive about me was selfish, egotistical, and conceited.
The change began when I realized most of my emotional damage was self-inflicted. The best way for my healing process to begin was to forgive myself for ever believing the horrible things others told me I was.
It took several months to accept the idea there was nothing selfish about seeing myself in a positive light. The self-forgiveness initiated the healing and from that point forward, I could begin to grow in ways I never believed possible. The growth was so inspiring and energizing it compelled to help others experience similar healing.
Pointing the finger
One of the most difficult conundrums to overcome is looking at that person in the mirror and asking yourself what you did to contribute to your own damage. Again, it is difficult to put together a magical phrase which covers every situation, but it’s always a productive place to start. Perhaps you did nothing to contribute to it, but closely examining that idea will help you discover the greatness in yourself.
I recently had a conversation with someone I knew over 20 years ago. We were talking about emotional healing which this person was relentlessly working to find. The situation became delicate and I mentioned self-forgiveness might be a consideration. This suggestion angered the other person and they responded harshly exclaiming, “I did not do this damage to myself.”
I assured them they were correct about that, but then I asked, “Did you ever – for one second – believe you did something to deserve it”? There was a long pause before I heard them answer, “yes.”
Situations as these require extreme care. Otherwise, it could have been easily be misconstrued and I would have put a huge stumbling block in that person’s ability to heal. Even though we are not the original culprits of our own damage, we do at times unwittingly contribute to our emotional injuries.
Many who suffer emotional pain at the hands of others, did nothing to deserve it. But perpetrators are excellent at blaming and shaming us into believing we did.
If you are stuck in a place where you want to heal but are not sure how to proceed, try looking at the person in the mirror and see if there is the slightest need for self-forgiveness. It can be a memorable turning point in your journey.
Next week, we will talk more about the important role of forgiveness in other aspects of emotional healing. My thanks to Sam Goodgame on Unsplash for the wonderful picture. If you are interested in finding out more about emotional healing or would like to schedule a healing session, please feel free to reach out to me or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you and I look forward to your comments.