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Maintaining the Focus

When it hurts – observe. Life is trying to teach you something.

–Anita Krizzam

Life is continually riddled with uncertainties and during this current COVID-19 situation, it has never been more evident. What frequently accompanies traumatic times is a yearning for stability as well as certainty. In the last few days, I’ve encountered several people who’ve indicated they needed or wanted healing. Typically, I would be inclined to be more specific about the type of healing by preceding it with the word “emotional”; however, in these vexing times, there is no need to make this distinction.

Virtually every person has been impacted by this menacing virus. But the effects each of us undergo vary widely in their scope, magnitude, and levels of harm. While it may not be much more than an inconvenience to some, others are suffering from inexplicable anxiety and trauma without being remotely near the front lines of defense.

Only a few months ago, some people would have considered themselves to have easily endured troubling times by reacting in a caring, considerate, and compassionate manner. They were pillars others would look to for emanating kind and generous behaviors. Nevertheless, some of them are now experiencing thoughts and actions they never would have imagined they were able to muster and wonder how they will be able to make it through this unparalleled crisis.

What remedy is there against such an indefensible circumstance? And why are completely alien suggestions and ideas even making their slightest appearances our thoughts?

What is the answer?

The solutions may not be the kind which many of us would have hoped for. Our fast-paced society has led us to believe results are readily available and within easy reach. All it takes is a quick internet search for step-by-step instructions or a video on how anything can be fixed. But this unprecedented circumstance was never addressed properly, and the solutions are evading those we would like to deem the experts.

As much as we may despise feeling anxious, worried, or fearful, it is completely understandable that whatever uncharacteristic or abnormal feelings being experienced, it’s entirely normal and being commonly experienced by millions. While this is not meant to lessen the severity of your predicament nor downplay any emotionally difficult struggle, it’s to help you become aware, in this present moment, that it’s normal to be having these kinds of previously unimagined thoughts, feelings, or actions and that you are not dealing with them as effectively as you believe you should be.

Many damaging emotions we suffer not only propagate themselves but thrive on their own existence. When anxiety ensues, it becomes stronger. Subsequently, this instigates other harmful thoughts, causing concern and forces us to question ourselves more. Shame and other tumultuous emotions rear their ugly heads adding to the confusion and continuing this vicious cycle to a nearly inescapable quagmire.

Breaking the cycle

The one common denominator these conditions have is the way in which we observe and perceive ourselves. It begins with acknowledging those previously unimagined thoughts and emotions then surmising or assuming they are an indication something went wrong. As those feelings progress, so do the destructive – and very false – perceptions of who we are.

Our focus has gone from “what can I do” to “what went wrong.”

As the Shame Doctor, I encourage you to shift your focus by becoming aware these reactions are by no means wrong or bad. They simply “are.” Next, tell yourself it’s okay to feel this way. Although it’s something you want to go away, saying to yourself “it’s okay to have these feelings” will actually help suppress and alleviate them – supporting and facilitating a more positive self-perception.

When working with my clients, this is a vital first step in the healing process. Otherwise, subsequent healing will have difficulty fully manifesting itself. A major part of emotional healing has to do with how we recognize, perceive and value ourselves.

In the previous article, emotional healing was compared to physical healing. When our skin suffers a cut, it still needs to heal regardless of what or who made the initial wound. The skin must grow back to heal. With an emotional wound, our mental capacity heals itself by renewing the positive outlook of who we are.

Imagine for one moment making great strides in emotional healing and NOT having more self-esteem and a better mindset and attitude about ourselves. It cannot happen.

Please keep in mind there is also a possibility of a scar or other indications of the initial injury, but emotional healing allows us to work through the trauma and create a possibility of becoming stronger for it.

Set your sights

The opening quote suggests we “observe” (meaning your current situation) when things hurt. This is another remarkable way of creating self-awareness. It’s similar to a problem-solving exercise. For instance, if you are experiencing negative thoughts about yourself, stop and ask why this is happening. What triggered these thoughts and made you feel poorly about yourself. Next, counteract those feelings by reminding yourself: A) it’s okay to have them and B) list the positive behaviors you showed prior to this dubious moment.

Another way to practice observance is to imagine you are interviewing someone else with the ability of reading that person’s mind. Take time to encourage “that person” and point out the misunderstandings brought on by self-doubt, fear, and shame. It does take practice, but will be an extremely rewarding and powerful emotional healing technique.

Destructive thoughts and emotions shift our focus away from our mental wellness onto topics which instead deteriorate and worsen it. Learning to refocus our minds on constructive and positive issues puts us back on track. These are undoubtedly some of the most difficult times any of us will face and maintaining our focus on constructive aspects will help us become victorious over this very difficult struggle.

John Dunia
John Duniahttp://shamedoctor.com/
John has a passion; and that is helping others heal from past difficulties and abuses. Healing became important when he realized how much it freed him from his own past and now works to help others experience that liberation. The key to his success was discovering that the most debilitating damage was his own shame and the destructive things he believed about who he was. Throughout his own healing journey, he became hyper-aware of how shame was affecting him while having little clue of its presence. Others noticed these changes and reached out to him for help. His methods were so effective that he made it a mission to shift his career into helping others. Adopting the term “ShameDoctor”, he continues to teach others to empower themselves through his remarkably effective techniques. “Shame is one of the biggest yet least talked about issues we face as individuals and society yet so very little is mentioned about it.” It is his purpose to change the way the world perceives shame and promote helpful and viable techniques to heal and overcome those past struggles. John’s book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based thinking” was self-published in 2016. In addition to working with clients, John also writes healing and insightful articles each week. He is also looking forward to speaking on the topics of shame and healing throughout the globe.

4 COMMENTS

  1. An Italian company that deals with semantics and artificial intelligence, every day publishes a monitoring on the emotions and feelings of Italians. The four negative feelings that predominated during the pandemic, besides sadness, were the repulsion towards the effects of the disease, the fear of personal health, the fear of the virus and the general sense of suffering. Overall, the range of negative feelings is still prevalent, while “neutral” emotions are still growing a bit, translating into a general sense of expectation. Overall, positive feelings drop slightly below 20%.
    Being able to have more control over the flow of our thoughts means investing in the quality of our life. Because whoever controls the noise of negativity is able to directly influence their emotions. Because those who think and feel better influence their behavior, their body and even their health. After all, happiness starts from what happens inside us, not outside.

    • Thank you Aldo.
      I was having a conversation just today with someone about how much our body’s chemistry can impact our emotional being. It is my understanding that women have more difficulty in maintaining hormone balance and that has a huge influence on the mental state.
      I would like to believe that my mind is powerful enough to overcome any (mental) adversity but I’m not sure that is a scientifically based belief. That said, I also would not want to blame my own chemical imbalance for a bad attitude. While I do completely agree each of us has the capability to control our negative thoughts, it is very complicated indeed.

  2. Thank you for this John. This is brilliantly put together and helps others realize we need to soothing and we really have the power when we start with the self soothing. Your guidance here is like a parental embrace extending a caress and waiting for the tears to roll… and saying “it’s ok”…Just hearing these words.. which I often tell myself.. allows the diversion from shame and pain to one of soothing and forgiveness. It all comes down to the mental need to be able to process. This takes time. Really enjoyed this article. Thank you my friend.

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