The importance of healing is not forgotten with the passage of time.
Healing our emotional wounds is a vital step in living a happy and fulfilling life. As discussed in last week’s article (click here to read it), healing can be suppressed by distractions. It’s already challenging enough because it doesn’t occur naturally as it does with cuts or abrasions to our skin. Sometimes these only require a quick dressing and the progress can be easily monitored with a brief glance.
Emotional recovery, however, is not quite as clear. There is no visual progress to validate if indeed it is happening. So how do we know whether or not we are improving much less experiencing any type of healing? What proof is there it is actually transpiring?
The indicators of emotional healing are basically all in our heads, figuratively speaking. It is how we are feeling about ourselves in that moment. Think of it as if it were a physical wound. As healing progresses, the scab gets smaller and the pain associated with the abrasion decreases. Eventually, it fades away along with any evidence it was ever there.
Recovering from past difficulties and abuses is similar in how those incidents make us feel when they are recalled. If there is little or no pain, that’s a good sign healing has occurred. What troubles some is that on one day we can feel great and the very next day may seem that we are back at square one.
Remember that sometimes while physical wounds heal, we may hinder the process by inadvertently reopening the wound. That doesn’t mean healing never happened, it simply means it will take longer and more vigilance is needed.
The same goes for emotional healing. Progress is not a continual and steady climb with no setbacks. It is nearly inevitable that there will be glitches in our journey. This is the exact moment when we need to believe more fully in ourselves. It is also remarkably beneficial to have others validate our progress which is why a good therapist or coach definitely helps.
When working with my clients, I frequently remind them of their progress and point out the ways they’ve improved. Often the temptation for us to deny any growth is great. That’s because much of the pain is based in our shame which is a self-reinforcing behavior. In many ways, shame thrives when we beat ourselves up and believe all kinds of terrible lies about ourselves.
The biggest difficulty with emotional healing is that there are no black and white answers. We can’t look into our psyche and see whether or not those wounds are getting better. Our self-esteem, which is extremely vital to this process, has been deprived or even stolen from us. It is almost as though life itself is trying to deny us this opportunity. But take heart. That could not be further from the truth.
I believe that we all can heal from anything in our past. Sometimes scars, just like physical ones, remain but they can also be reminders that our healing was real and we did an amazing job overcoming it. If you have any questions about your own healing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. It has the potential to change your life.