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Great Expectations

“If not knowing what emotional healing is, how does one know it has occurred”?

It’s my contention that shame is a very misunderstood and undervalued topic. Likewise, is the subject of emotional healing. Try and recall the last time you actually heard good advice or for that matter, any instruction on how it should be accomplished. There can be little debate that it’s a vital key to regaining and maintaining good emotional health. So why would such a crucial issue such as emotional health be left ignored or unaddressed?

To begin, what results should take place before you believe any emotional healing has happened? What do you think ought to occur that would indicate the slightest bit of progress? When an abrasion on our skin heals, the blood coagulates and forms a scab. Eventually, the skin grows back often without leaving any trace; a clear indication that healing has taken place. There are, however, times when some wounds are deep; leaving large scars and possibly resulting in some kind of loss or amputation. This type of injury can still heal but what remains is a constant reminder of the original incident.

Fortunately, our skin has evolved to heal itself and knowing when that process occurs is unquestionably evident. Our emotions, on the other hand, have not been dealt the same fate. Since many have had little or no experience with emotional healing, it can be extremely difficult to know when or even if it has occurred at all. And just as there are countless ways for our bodies to mend, the same is true for our emotions. Thankfully, by looking at the analogies between emotional and physical healing, it can provide some very essential insights.

One of the first ways we know an injury has occurred is that it’s often accompanied by pain and bleeding. Healing means the hemorrhaging has stopped and ache has subsided; hopefully getting to the point where it’s as though the original wound never happened. Isn’t that very similar to what we want with emotional healing?

We long for that incident which caused the emotional turmoil in the first place, to have never happened. Since that is impossible, let’s discuss a technique which I have found to be extremely beneficial.

In many cases, a lot of our emotional damage is magnified because the blame we place on ourselves. That someway or somehow, we did some thing to deserve the abuse and it has now become our punishment. For many, this type of destructive reasoning can continue for years which only exacerbates the emotional devastation on our psyche. Confusion and any other shameful emotion continually amplifies the injury to the point where it seems impossible to escape.

If this sounds familiar then the next step you take may seem unbelievably simple. Forgive yourself. Yes, you read that correctly. Forgive yourself for ever thinking you deserved it. Even if you came up with a million reasons why you think it may have been warranted, stop now and forgive yourself. Shame is what forces us to hold on to negative thoughts. Forgiving ourselves begins the process of reversing those beliefs and sparks the fuse which ignites the recovery process.

Many tend to dismiss the idea of self-forgiveness. It hints of selfishness and the thought of self-forgiveness has often been viewed as egocentric or self-centered. Besides, isn’t forgiveness only for others?

Not at all.

Just as we can love or forgive others, we should also love and forgive ourselves. It is not an arrogant act but rather one of kindness and self-care. We never intended to hurt ourselves by believing the lies that our abuses were deserved, so show yourself compassion by forgiving yourself for ever thinking that they were somehow justified. This remedy may not work for everyone but with the majority of people I’ve worked with, it has been a tremendous first step!

Next week, we will look at more healing techniques but in the meantime, if you have any questions about your own situation, please feel free to contact me. I want to thank Nijwam Swargiary from Unsplash for the beautiful photo and I look forward to your comments.

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