Photo Courtesy of Jeff Finley
“Understanding how healing works can be beneficial in its progress and development”
With a subject as vital as emotional healing, presumably there would be much discussion on the best ways of effectively teaching it to others. However, my conjecture is that most don’t fully understand its transformative value. As mentioned in last week’s article (click here to read it), our journeys will be different, yet often important lessons can be gleaned when hearing others’ experiences. Additionally, having a great mentor or therapist can be instrumental in learning to apply them to our own lives.
The most difficult part of my healing was understanding how my own thoughts were the culprit. The biggest obstacles were negative ideas which I supposed were innately within me. Deeming myself unworthy and full of shame were what prevented any real healing. It was always much easier to point a finger at someone else and put the blame on them for being in my predicament. Undoubtedly some may good reason to lay blame at the feet of others; especially those who were young children and had no opportunity for defense or rebuttal.
While it would be completely irresponsible of me to say that every case of abuse can be dealt with in my same manner, many with whom I have worked discovered similarities and realized that while there was harm done by the abuser, much of the collateral damage was done by believing awful things about who they were. “I must have done something to deserve this” is a common thought while another is, “God is probably punishing me for something”. We diligently search for reasons why we deserved these terrible incidents to happen to us.
These destructive thoughts are precisely what we need to forgive ourselves for thinking. Even if we may have had no other choice during that moment, we don’t have to keep believing they are factual. Although hindsight may have shown us to be wrong, our actions at that time were the best we could do. Understanding that we were diligently trying to do the right thing and then believing those feelings of shame afterwards, these are exactly the points for which we should indeed be forgiving ourselves.
There is no controlling what anyone else thinks; but we can control the way we view and assess ourselves. We can forgive ourselves for believing terrible thoughts about who we were and are. No doubt, it is very difficult. Many cultures, religions, and even family traditions have been passed on for centuries with ideas that we are shameful, unworthy, or dozens of other disparaging notions. Unfortunately, they were used for power and control. It’s high time that we build our self-esteem and that of others. This kind of action creates and promotes healing, growth, and empowerment throughout the world.
Some of these ideas may be a bit difficult to grasp so please feel free to comment or reach out to me directly. I am dedicating the rest of my life to helping others heal and I consider it a privilege and a gift. My thanks also to Jeff Finley for the beautiful photograph. Find our more at http://www.jefffinley.org.