In 2018, an organization known as SCMO estimated there were approximately 64.28 million kilometers (39.95 million miles) of roads on this planet. Most of them have their own distinct and unique characteristics. However, each one had a beginning and started with a purpose. The same is true for our emotional healing journeys except that we don’t always know when those journeys begin or if we are even on the right path.
Our emotional healing journeys travel in the roads of our minds with no physical evidence to assure us we are headed in the right direction or if we are even on the correct path. Without some proof, what signs are there that encourage us to continue or validate we are achieving any progress?
If this path is about healing, shouldn’t there be something that indicates our accomplishments? What is guiding us or lighting the path when it’s a dark path? Healing is getting better and if there is no improvement, are we going the wrong way?
The journey starts
One evening in 1983, I was playing basketball when my right knee suddenly began moving in slow motion. I didn’t twist anything or feel a pop, but something was definitely wrong. I stopped playing but growing up with that old-school mentality of “just walk it off,” I limped through my janitor job that same night.
The following day, my knee was diagnosed with a torn cartilage and eventually needed surgery to repair. Not having health insurance at the time, my physical therapy consisted of a nurse giving me a five-minute lecture on what I needed to do. But I wasn’t going to let a little discomfort stop me from my daily life. Unfortunately, my version of physical therapy produced limited results and my knee would have been much stronger had I sought the proper care.
I wonder if at that time I would have been able to interview five different therapists, would all of their procedures have been somewhat different? Even though they would all be achieving the same goal, how similar would any of their techniques be? In the end, it would have been up to me to decide which therapist made the best recommendations.
Our emotional healing journeys likewise will have various ways for us to be successful. Similarly, counselors and trained professionals will recommend different practices and techniques, and we must decide which one will be able to help us produce our greatest results.
It is also possible to travel this road alone and still experience emotional healing. However, like physical therapy, having someone with knowledge and experience will help you accomplish it more quickly and effectively.
When the road is bumpy or forces us to go in a direction we weren’t anticipating, that is not necessarily an indicator to be concerned. Our journey was not meant to be a smooth ride. It may also take us through some dark alleys or treacherous paths, but this course may be the only way to achieve success.
It is often in these gloomy and dismal places where a light is shined on the behaviors and attitudes that we manifested that contributing to our pain and suffering. In many situations – even in those where we were horribly brutalized and abused by others – we may add to our own grief by believing we did something to deserve the abuse. Nothing is more damaging to our own mental wellness than to wrongly believe that we deserved to be punished, mistreated, or abused.
These unworthy feelings brought on by shame will block our healing or elicit inappropriate outcomes. It’s almost as if a broken bone had been not set properly and then fused back together. Although the bone becomes whole, it won’t function properly and may create poorer issues down the road.
When our emotional wounds don’t heal properly, we too, won’t function at our highest level nor perform at our utmost potential. While healing occurred, and that’s certainly better than nothing, there will be limitations to reaching our full potential.
Broken bones that heal incorrectly can be surgically reset and then they will heal to their optimal capacity. But this requires a team of trained professionals to complete this task. The same is true with our emotional wounds, which underscores the importance of selecting a professional who can help you choose your best course of action.
Sometimes our destination is not clear, but we must remember that emotional healing is a repairing and renewal of our state of mind. It revitalizes our outlook and allows us to live in moments of peace and serenity. Although the challenges of everyday life don’t afford us the opportunity to be there 100% of the time, it becomes our goal to get there as frequently as possible.
What causes us to deviate from our course are those times of self-doubt and confidence. It is when shame, fear, and disbelief in ourselves rob us of this peace. All these negative emotions only prohibit emotional healing from happening. It drains our fuel and stops us on our journey. Refueling comes by increasing our self-esteem, trusting ourselves again, and thriving in the confidence of who we are.
Healing shifts us from blaming our wounds for all the misery to seeing them as challenges to overcome. We use them as stepping stones to help us build stronger character and live a kind, humble, and compassionate life.
Where our road leads is the direction we choose. One we navigate. While it often crosses paths with others who may guide, push, or occasionally tow us, we understand that our choices paved this road, and we did the work that brought us emotional healing. And that we willingly accept the responsibility for the outcome of where that road leads.
If you are wanting to begin your journey and have a few questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Perhaps you have already begun and are unsure of what’s ahead, it is my passion to help guide you in these times to reach your maximum potential.