Photo byZak Boca
“No matter how much ointment is applied to a wound, the body must repair itself before healing occurs”.
The subject of healing past emotional wounds is unfortunately rarely discussed. That was the topic of last week’s article (click here to read it). This week, it’s time to look at action steps that can be taken to begin the healing process. No matter at what stage in life or how bad the damage was, I believe healing is possible.
If all it took were to read a book or listen to an inspiring story for healing to begin, there would be a lot more occurring. However, because our journeys differ, it’s not that simple. While it is helpful to learn from those who’ve successfully traveled it, even the best therapist in the world can’t “make it happen” for anyone. What they do provide are proper tools and insight on how best to use them in our own lives.
Healing, first of all, implies that there is a wound; whether that injury was recent or long ago, some sort of damage was done and now needs repairing. In most cases, the extent of the damage – and this may be a difficult concept initially to understand – occurs by how much we allow it to affect us. For example, as children, we are easily influenced by loved ones and those we trust. If they continually are pointing out how “bad” we are, the tendency would be to believe them and create feelings of worthlessness about ourselves; even though their actions may not have been intentional, it still had a negative impact on us.
Healing begins when we can learn to forgive. But it is vital to understand why and who is being forgiven. Often we hear it is important to forgive others but what is the reason behind forgiving someone else? It is done for our benefit more than theirs. When we are able to forgive ourselves, that truly is the genesis of our own healing. We must forgive all of those negative things we believed who we were and are. These pessimistic thoughts put limitations, hurdles, and roadblocks in our lives which caused tremendous damage to ourselves.
Believing these terrible things about who we were and are, is how I define the word shame. It is the foundation for most of what needs to be healed in us. Shame reinforces within us that we are unworthy or unacceptable. It bolsters our beliefs that somehow we have no value or a long list of other contrived reasons.
Shame is what keeps us in these dark places; convincing us that we are unworthy of better things. But these thoughts only happened because we honestly thought they were true. Now we must forgive ourselves for believing them which will ultimately allow the healing to begin.
Two years ago, I completed a book about my journey titled, “Shame On Me: Healing a Life of Shame-Based Thinking”. It details how my therapist helped me understand that nearly all of my problems stemmed from the incredible shame that permeated the first 52 years of my life. Needless to say it was an incredible, cathartic experience and one which set me on a path to help others find a similar experience.
In the next article, I plan to discuss more ideas about forgiveness and no doubt respond to some of the comments this article is bound to instigate. Please feel free to leave your comments; especially if your experience is different from mine.
My thanks to Zac Boca for the amazing picture from Unsplash.